Issue 58 - 4 Jan 2015

What if the Economy was Designed to Produce Better Rather than More?

Unless and until we develop a new system of economics, civilization is heading for disaster. The economy should serve society and, in doing so, it should ensure society does not live beyond the capacity of the planet to sustain all life. As Suzuki says...

However, society is not adept at re-constructing how it does things, as Pirsig (1974, p. 94) argues: tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack the effects rather than the causes; and as long as the attack is upon its effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systemic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There is so much talk about the system and so little understanding.

All social systems, be they pertaining to the economy, the welfare provision, public health, etc. are built around a set of values--those of the people who created them. For example, our current system of economics operationalizes the values of competition and survival. It was built around a misunderstanding that competition, in the context of survival of the fittest, leads to the survival of something that was better than that which ceased to exist because it was unable to compete in the survival stakes. Inexplicably, the designers and supporters of our current system of economics have misunderstood Darwin's Theory of Evolution!. They have incorrectly equated evolution with progress. Progress implies moving in the direction of better. Evolution, on the other hand, only leads to survival of the fittest to survive, by whatever means entities can. The only aspect of better in that which survives, is that the entity was "better at surviving". Crucially, a system of economics based on principles of evolution has nothing to do with the survival of entities which are better for society or the planet!

So how does one go about re-constructing social systems such as the system of economics, based on different values? The animate/video below provides an answer which is proving to be very effective...

What do you think? Do you have another way of going about this re-construction?

No comments: