Provocation 244 Economics and reality.
Economics is fairly self contented, a kind of technical world of self referential concepts that means that economics, usually implying stability in institutions, does not map well onto the real world of serious changes and serious impacts on the lives of people. That could be the realm of a revitalized political economy.
A key fact in economics has to be that humans survived with about a billion people by living off the surface of the earth. Penetrating the earth to reach the oil and gas deposits allowed the increase to the approx. 8 billion we have now. Running out of that underground reservoir used to hint at limitations: can’t do this after it is used up. But that limit has been replaced by the sober recognition that we were merely transferring the coal and gas from under the ground, through our industrial machine, into the atmosphere, and this fouling of the air puts amore recently discovered limit on the fossil fuel culture.
Imagine an economics where, if even one person was suffering from poverty, the world management system would go into action.
Physics maps pretty well onto the serious unknows. Biology is more distorted because of the amount of money in biotech. Physics is weakened by the extent that its grad students are looking to develop math that works in economics. Their ear is not attuned to gaps isn our physical knowledge. Economics seems much worse in that it does research into the gaps in formalism more than it seeks out good narratives about the state of society in its relation to the earth.
The discussion of the conflict between socialism and capitalism is really lame, lacking in imagination and responsibility.
Davos had some high points.
Greta Thornberg https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiW8ca2rKTnAhUOac0KHQGgDFgQwqsBMAB6BAgKEAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D51u4JECraLQ&usg=AOvVaw1pDPsdb-uxHWWgKOXk0reG
Uval Harari https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/yuval-hararis-warning-davos-speech-future-predications/
George Soros https://www.georgesoros.com/2020/01/23/remarks-delivered-at-the-world-economic-forum-3/
All three spoke directly and with logic to core issues, taken together, amount to a powerful and challenging agenda.