Gardenworld Politics

Here is a  link to the  draft chapters of Gardenworld Politics:    link  

The blog posts that follow are about the book, about news that pertains to the book. Gardenworld Politics  brings together the need for food and habitat with  humans engaged in the craftsmanship of  making new communities that meet needs and are attractive. The book  considers the major alternative, the technological acceleration scenario.


Blog below, newest post on top .

2338. Economics?

  1. There are many serious critiques on aspects of economics  but they seem to have no effect. Joan Robinson’s attack on economics as an example. If critiques are good, even brilliant, but ignored, is this not a sign that Economics is not fully scientific? Perhaps we should be attracted by this sign of difficulty and explore it  rather than threatened by it.
  1. We are treating corporate profits as if they are the  important bottom line of economic activity,  but it only measures the output in profit  of a sub-unit of society. The  well being of  the whole is society and the earth’s critical zone   is the real bottom line. So we end with sub maximization big time. Dollar profit goes up but social well being goes to zero as the society sub optimally managed      collapses.

3. In a 1982 letter to Science magazine, Nobel Prize economist Wassily Leontief

asked, “How long will researchers working in adjoining fields … abstain from expressing serious concern about the splendid isolation within which academic economics now finds itself?”

2338. corruption’s effect

“Leading baby food manufacturers knowingly sold products with high levels of toxic metals, a congressional investigation found. this “

From CNN this sfternoon. People, in Order to keep their jobs, must go along with this activity which is deeply demoralizing and or corrupting of their own character. Business tries to isolate itself from societies interference and drags the employees behind the wall were corruption can take place.

2036. Integration of issues eludes us.

Whether we are able to successfully modify our institutions and ways of living, or collapse as a civilization, re-centering our lives on earth, food and local projects organized around face to face encounters will take place from necessity. People will gather to pool resources. The governance to manage and culture to cohere us will likely mean a mix of local and hierarchical — regional, national, and global initiatives, reinventing regulations, as local projects unfold. The purpose and relevance of markets, states, and communities will need rethinking. We cannot have a a socially responsive n economics which stresses rationality as long as we manipulate markets through irrationality. We like the idea of democracy as a way of making decisions about the future, but technology and capital are just as important forces. We have yet to find a way to integrate the three into powerful lines of action sufficient to stop temperature rise. Will we create a future for the good of all or support a politics which continues to take our  wealth from us, leaving behind third world poverty?

2035.The facts but not all of them.

We have used our talent to make a civilization out of our dependence on oil and coal, and encouraged population growth for more soldiers, more workers, and more consumers.   We seem locked in because there is no way to stop burning that coal and oil, because it is – so far –  necessary for generating electricity, running cars, fertilizing fields, moving stuff around,  in a crowded hungry world. We have become fragmented and lack leverage to change anything and choose to just hold on. We are supposed to be a democracy and a democracy responds to the needs of the people. But we have representative democracy where we get to vote, not on issues that concern us , but for candidates the system of nominations presents to us as choices. It isn’t working.   The news channels, owned almost exclusively by a few large corporations, seem to provide “news” but many themes are just left out  as editors understand what the bosses want and don’t want.  Much of it is unsaid and guessed at.  (see Michael e. Mann’s The New Climate War). The better news outlets give us facts, but not all of them.

2034. Competition vs compassion.

We have been oriented towards competition more than compassion and cooperation; we have made a world difficult for children, parents, elders, poor, and animals. Children can no longer just ‘go out and play and come home for dinner as it gets dark.’ Our world now fits fast careers and traffic. We have built society around the part of the life cycle that has income and freedom to spend on marketable technology while forgetting relationships. We remain divided in our aspirations between wanting a life of security, continuity, and rewarding work, versus seeking ownership that maintains control and guarantees dividends for the rich. 

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The gaming of the stock market means that markets are now playable as a game where the prize, instead of a slow increase in share value through increased productivity (somewhat idealistic assumption), is rapid and unpredictable, and where the prize is to those who most manipulate -game – the market.

2033. Sharing productivity. Keynes?

In the 1930’s Keynes predicted that by now the work problem of meeting human needs for all, through automation, would be solved. We got the productivity but not the sharing. What went wrong? It is a question of politics, vision, ethics, managment and organization. Lots to do. But start with affirming Keynes vision, and adding the rest is our incomplete task.

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Greta’s speech today.

2032. Governing the whole.

Provocation 282. Governing the whole.

We have an ensemble of corporations making the crucial decisions about the future. Unfortunately each corporation wants high walls between its operations and impacts on outside realties so it can maximize production “efficiently”. But  efficient means free from outside interference that can slow down or limit profit making. The trouble is, taken all together the actions of such isolated corporations does not, cannot, add up to systemic solutions that include secondary effects outside the walls.

For major issues, such as climate and population, we need organizations whose responsibility is for  the whole. “The government” should have that role but the government is controlled ny the corporations through their financing of Congress. Government had that role till the English landholders organized against the King in order to further the enclosures which the king opposed.

Modeling “management of the whole” without becoming a police state is an open agenda for economists if they would be willing to take it on.

2031. Education of economists

We are clear that economic thinking needs to step across borders and deal with “externalities”.  This means awareness of the realities of social and historical lives. How to get there? It takes economists who think out of th narrow silo of formalist economics. But we are in fair agreement that the teaching of economics creates,  with a kind of imprinting, students who can think in formal terms but lack the skills for producing effective narratives. So, provocative proposal. Make an undergraduate degree in one of 

History
Anthropology
political science
Archeology
Psychology
Sociology
Literature
Art
Design

a prerequisite for entering phd programs in economics. The cross fertilization will happen rapidly when minds are not colonized by formal economics alone. Economics requires a kind of maturity about society and the fragility of social systems. This proposal for an undergraduate degree first  will lead to an economics filled with more mature students.

2030. From economics to global management.

Economics, economia, in ancient Greece from where the word comes, meant estate management. Classical Greece and the old mediterranean empire were organized as a loose federation of cattle ranches (see James Mcinerney, The Cattle of the Sun)This provides a perspective on what we must do — treat the earth as the home and the management takes on  the whole earth. Think about it: to adequately merge human lives with the sustaining earth under the new conditions of a warming planet.. We can do this. With multiple crises at the same time, we want to make sure we are seeing the way things fit together. A good society should provide security and meaningful livability for each person. But we can’t do it unless we are clearer about what the problems are. The problems taken together are more complicated than proposed solutions which usually struggle with one problem at a time. Because we lack an integrated approach with a clear goal of a better society people remain confused, sullen and passive. We are at that edge where denial turns into giving up without an intermediate stage of trying our best to make sense of the whole. Social unrest and the collapse of governance worldwide are spreading fast and we need a view of where we could go, a goal that is plausible even in the face of the anarchy of events. Gardenworld is that view and is meant to be robust across scenarios.