Provocation # 57.
INET Detroit Race and Economics conference
The conference has so many edges open to explore. First, economics came off well, presenting usable analytic perspectives on some key issues.
At the same time speaker after speaker made it urgent that we deal with complexity, combinations of issues “intertwined’, heard a number of times. Economics was severely criticized for “ignoring reality.”
John Powell in the closing moments of the conference said, “the stakes could not be higher.”
What should INET do? So many INET sponsored and posted pieces take one issue at a time.
Barber, in the opening keynote said, “We cannot wait. You cannot just do one, you have to deal with the whole.” With the interaction of the issues.
The way to handle complexity of many intertwined issues is through creating some plausible narrative scenarios of how the future, starting now, and aware of the past and working out the implications, letting conversation bring out blind cul de sacs and unintended but unavoidable secondary consequences, discovering both feasible and implausible narratives through an analysis that includes all the issues. They cannot be adequately judged before lots of talk, rubbing contrasting scenarios together to bring out conflicts and potential possibilities. Indeed, we do not know ahead of time what the interwoven issues are/ Climate and jobs, governance and wealth ..? This is just one suggestion. I hope we get others.
We could start, for example, on what would happen to the economy if
We cut economic activity by a third and froze use of all oil and coal in order to prevent +3 degrees global heating. Jobs? Financial system? Impact on all asset values?
Obviously that would quickly lead to a need to
1. Discuss the structure of an alternative green economy
2. Some plausible paths to get through that transition.
As a second example, what possible path could there be to restructure the economy under severe tech induced unemployment ? That would shift from the current distribution of jobs to a world where the major full employment job categories are
1. Serious greening (food and living conditions and aesthetics for the planet)
2. New forms of health and care for the billions that would be dislocated
3. Managers needed for the two.
Think Freedrick Law Olmstead and Central Park x10(6) as a world wide social task.
As we think about these we will probably realize that we have a choice to stay within the system, or break it open. Do we assume all basics remain as they are while we try to change from within? Private property, money, capital, ownership, corporations, insulated representative democracy, corporate owned Media?
Or change some of these?
Derrick said that growth, for whites was based on government guidance. Now that the results of subsidies are realized, the powerful want to eliminate government interference, especially that which would attempt redistribution.
All downturns in the economy transfer wealth upward because the rich know earlier when to sell, and if there is an upswing, when to buy.
We are in a mess. Is economics a peripheral player, or intimately implicated in politics, morals, quality of life for all, the understanding and management of the earth and society. Economics comes from the greek, estate management. The estate is larger but our vision seems to have become smaller. Lots to do.
The stakes could not be higher – Powell