Economism and the Econocene: a coevolutionary interpretation | Richard B. Norgaard | real-world economics review

We live in the era of Economism. Human consciousness is deeply etched by economistic beliefs in individualism, materialism, property, markets, economic growth, and freedom as consumer choice. These beliefs are necessary to sustain the system that supports us. But the economy we have is unlikely to support our grandchildren. Natural scientists argue that we are in a new geologic era, the Anthropocene, where people have become the major force in changing the geosphere: the atmosphere, oceans, and land. But it is the economistic beliefs that describe the cosmos of most people, bind people together, support their particular behavior, and sustain the economic system. Economism is altering the physical processes of the geosphere and collapsing the diversity of the biosphere. Econocene is a more appropriate term for the new geologic era. Fossil fuels and their technologies have transformed agricultural and industrial processes, the mobility of goods and people, and the geographies of cities and rural areas. People’s values, ways of understanding, and social organization have coevolved with fossil fuels and their technologies, but it is economism that binds people together and girds the economic system we have. We need a new “ism”, a new human consciousness, to support a new relationship with Earth and its other inhabitants.

Read More

Of ecosystems and economies: re-connecting economics with reality | Clive L. Spash and Tone Smith | real-world economics review

The state of planet Earth is widely recognised as in jeopardy due to a range of environmental problems relating to a dominant economic system that extracts resources and uses energy on an unprecedented scale in human history. A long-running claim amongst mainstream economists, defenders of unregulated capitalism and those favouring a regulated productivist economy has been that human ingenuity can find substitutes for all resources and technology can solve all problems allowing humanity to change and adapt to anything. These arguments are made in almost total ignorance of how the economy interacts with ecosystems and impacts their structure and functioning, how dependent economies are on the flow of low entropy materials and energy and what are the basic limits to humans as biological animals. Indeed even ignorance itself is ignored and reduced down to risk and probabilities.

Yet, that economies must change is no longer in question. That they will change is also no longer even an issue. The question is what responses materialise as resources, energy supplies and functioning of ecosystems do change? The options being put forward are numerous, but most aim to preserve some form of high-technology, capital accumulating, growth economy embedded in price-making markets, including: green economy, climate economy, low carbon economy, circular economy, knowledge economy, bioeconomy. Yet, none of these addresses the causal mechanisms of the current crises, or structural issues facing social ecological transformation; they are concerned only with controlling for impacts and adapting to consequences, not with the bio-physical relations of the economy with non-human nature.

This article provides an overview of the relationships between economic systems and the environment, human society and non-human nature, ecology and economy. It brings together various literatures with the aim of introducing the reader to the importance of biophysical reality for the operation of real economies, and therefore also for economics. In the next section, we explain the problems facing standard economic approaches if they are to address environmental problems, but more generally their inability to even understand the social ecological crises due to a limited scope and direction. This is followed by outlining the place of economies in the context of their social and bio-physical structural relations, a basic general ontology. More specific detail is then added on the lessons that can be drawn from ecological understanding in terms of ecosystems, materials and energy. The final section draws out the implications of this understanding for social ecological transformation of the currently dominant economic systems and the type of economics required to help achieve that transformation.

Read More

COMMENTARY ON GOVERNANCE BY UNITY IN ST. KITTS AND NEVIS – by CHARLES WILKIN QC | 21/3/19.

Lindsay Grant, Minister in the Unity administration, said last week that the Unity manifesto on which they were elected in 2015 was “a contract with the people” and that “Unity has delivered on almost everything in the manifesto and more”. I assume he used the word “almost” because Unity has not delivered on their fundamental contract with the people to make government and the electoral system open, transparent and accountable which it is not at present and never has been…

Read More

Degrowth: a theory of radical abundance | Jason Hickel | real-world economics review

As the climate crisis worsens and the carbon budgets set out by the Paris Agreement shrink, climate scientists and ecologists have increasingly come to highlight economic growth as a matter of concern. Growth drives energy demand up and makes it significantly more difficult – and likely infeasible – for nations to transition to clean energy quickly enough to prevent potentially catastrophic levels of global warming. In recent years, IPCC scientists have argued that the only feasible way to meet the Paris Agreement targets is to actively scale down the material throughput of the global economy. Reducing material throughput reduces energy demand, which makes it easier to accomplish the transition to clean energy.

Ecological economists acknowledge that this approach, known as degrowth, is likely to entail reducing aggregate economic activity as presently measured by GDP. While such a turn might seem inimical to human development, and indeed threaten to trigger a range of negative social consequences, proponents of degrowth argue that a planned reduction of throughput can be accomplished in high-income nations while at the same time maintaining and even improving people’s standards of living. Policy proposals focus on redistributing existing income, shortening the working week, and introducing a job guarantee and a living wage, while expanding access to public goods.

As debates unfold around what these policies might look like and how to implement them, here I step back to consider the deeper economic logic of degrowth theory. On the surface, degrowth sounds like an economics of scarcity, as many on both the right and left have been quick to allege. But in fact exactly the opposite is true. A long view of the history of capitalism reveals that growth has always depended on enclosure. The Lauderdale Paradox first articulated by James Maitland holds that an increase in “private riches” is achieved by choking off “public wealth”. This is done not only in order to acquire free value from the commons but also, I argue, in order to create an “artificial scarcity” that generates pressures for competitive productivity.

Degrowth seeks to invert the Lauderdale Paradox. By calling for a fairer distribution of existing resources and the expansion of public goods, degrowth demands not scarcity but rather abundance (see Sahlins, 1976; Galbraith, 1998; Latouche, 2014; D’Alisa et al., 2014). I build on this insight to show that such an approach not only embodies an alternative to a growth-oriented economy, but in fact offers an antidote to the driving mechanism of growth itself, thus releasing both humans and ecosystems from its grip. By advancing a theory of abundance, degrowth provides a feasible political pathway toward an ecological economy fit for the Anthropocene.

Read More

Growthism: its ecological, economic and ethical limits | Herman Daly | real-world economics review

We have many problems – poverty, unemployment, environmental destruction, climate change, financial instability, etc. – but only one solution for everything, namely economic growth. We believe that growth is the costless, win-win solution to all problems, or at least the necessary precondition for any solution. This is growthism. It now creates more problems than it solves.

Read More

Why Public Schools and the Mainstream Media Dumb Us Down | Academy of Ideas

Malevolent authority, combined with a passive citizenry is the recipe for tyranny and so anti-authoritarians should not be feared or ostracized, they should be welcomed. They are the individuals who raise the alarm and awaken the slumbering masses to the existence of corrupt authority. A society without a healthy number of anti-authoritarians, or a society in which anti-authoritarians are shunned and silenced, is a society that has chosen the comfort of illusions, over the desire for truth, and is therefore a society paving the way for its own destruction. For as the 18th century French philosopher Voltaire cautioned:

“So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious or otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.” Voltaire

Read More

Geneva International Peace Research Institute GIPRI: Interview with Dr. Alfred de Zayas on the crisis in Venezuela

Alfred Maurice de Zayas {born 31 May 1947 in Havana, Cuba), also known as Alfred de Zayas, is an American lawyer, writer, historian, a leading expert in the field of human rights and international law. From 2012 until April 2018, he was the United Nations (UN) Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order (also known as Special Rapporteur), appointed by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council.

Read More

The true meaning of love and forgiveness – a life-value onto-axiological perspective

LK 6:27-38 Jesus said to his disciples: “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your… Read More

Modern Monetary Theory, Monetary Sovereignty, Colonialism and Independence, and an Economics for Sustainable Prosperity

The conclusion will be that macroeconomic policy proposals should be informed by stock-flow consistent modern monetary theory; that a job guarantee, or employer of last resort scheme, is a proposal which is affordable and potentially able to stabilise an unstable economy; that the elimination of involuntary underemployment can raise the subjective well-being of millions of people and promote social inclusion; and that the framing of this and other policy proposals is of vital importance, and should not be neglected by economists and the politicians they advise.

Read More

BEYOND DARWIN: THE HIDDEN RHYTHM OF EVOLUTION BY JOSÉ DÍEZ FAIXAT 

This article surprisingly reveals the existence of a very precise spiral rhythm in the emergence of the evolutionary leaps that mark the history of the universe.

The proposed hypothesis is very simple: just as in any musical instrument successive second harmonics (1/3 of the vibrating unit) progressively generate new sounds; these same second harmonics generate all the major evolutionary novelties in universal dynamics as a whole. It is truly surprising that such a simple proposal is found to be precise and categorical when cross-checked against historical data. Let us see.

Fitting our ‘periodic table’ of rhythms to the date of the appearance of matter –the Big Bang– and of organic life, we see that every single instant of the emergence of successive taxonomic degrees of human phylogeny is marked out with utter precision: Kingdom: animal, Phylum: chordata, Class: mammal, Order: primate, Superfamily: hominoid, Family: hominid and Genus: homo! The same then occurs with all the stages of maturation of our primitive ancestors: H. habilis, H. erectus, archaic H. sapiens, H. sapiens and H. sapiens sapiens! Once more, the precision of our hypothesis is repeated in the successive transformations that humanity has experienced in its more recent history: the Neolithic, Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Modern Age and the emergentPostmodern Age! If, as we see it, all these stages resoundingly fit the provisions of the ‘periodic table’ of rhythms that we have proposed, it is more than likely that our hypothesis may also provide the key to glimpse the successive phases yet to be deployed in the years to come in an ever-accelerating process that will eventually lead to a moment of infinite creativity –Omega– within a couple of centuries.

All this is, indeed, unexpected and surprising, but is now almost certain when we verify that the same hypothesis that has behaved with utter precision when applied to the process of global evolution, also does so when cross-checked against the process of development of the individual human being! Within the same time frame, with the same pattern of folding and unfolding, and passing through the same stages, our ‘periodic table’ of rhythms periodically marks out –step by step– the successive phases embryologists, developmental psychologists and spiritual teachers talk of, thus confirming the old idea of phylogenetic-ontogenetic parallelism and pointing very specifically to an astonishing fractal and holographic universe.

It is impossible, absolutely impossible, that all this accumulation of linked “coincidences” –in both the field of overall development and that of individual human development– highlighted in this paper is the product of mere chance. The conclusions that emerge from all this clash head on with many assumptions of predominant materialistic science. Our proposal, which provides a better fit to the presented data, points to the non-duality of energy and consciousness, as posed by many traditions of wisdom. From these pages, we invite all our readers to participate in this emerging experiential and theoretical research in which dazzling prospects can be glimpsed.

Keywords: Crisis darwinism, integral paradigm, alternative hypothesis, divergent-convergent spiral evolution, accelerated rhythm, teleology, singularity, omega point, syntropy, musical harmonics, stationary waves, quantum leaps, evolutive discontinuity, fractal time, holographic universe, big history, macrocosmos (paleontology, anthropology, history), microcosmos (embriology, psychology), ontogeny-philogeny, spectrum energy-consciousness, spiral dynamics, chakras, perennial philosophy, non-duality.

Read More