2121. Economics is self limiting.

Provocation 249 march 2 Economics is  self-limiting.

Economics replaces politics as the major social dialog. This is a  big burden of responsibility for economics because it has assumed the role of making decisions for society. But economists do not study society. Maybe like choosing to be a GP after medical school  gives you the right to avoid the content of the specialties.

A few challenging quotes.

“..in economics to concert a model into a quantity formula is to destroy its usefulness as an instrument of thought.” Keynes. 

“As the master science of desire in advanced capitalist nations, economics and its acolytes define the parameters of our moral and political imaginations, patrolling the boundaries of possibility and censoring any more generous conception of human affairs. Under the regime of neoliberalism, it has been the chief weapon in the arsenal of what David Graeber has characterized as “a war on the imagination,” a relentless assault on our capacity to envision an end to the despotism of money.”

 from The Enchantments of Mammon Eugene McCarraher

As Keynes said, “the difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.

There is not much of a place up the ladder in the profession which allows you to question basic assumptions of  economics. From the top of the ladder thee is only insight down, not up or to the side into other interesting frameworks. 

You can see the problem. The history of economics is not the history of the economy, which is much larger. The economics  meta-story is too weak. We need a much more comprehensive story. 

These are up for rethinking

• Nation state

• World governance

• Dominance of capital as a decision maker rather than democracy in partnership with expertise

• Meaning of private

• Meaning of property

• Care for the weakest

• Stop strip  mining food and oceans

• Care for animals

• Care for children

• Care for wild spaces.

• Enjoy relationships more and material less.

  • Take pleasure in being helpful

Economy  is  seen  as  a  natural  sphere  of  equalization, but it is like roulette – equal for the 32 but the 0 and 00 act like capital, always taking a cut from the game played by society.  The house wins.


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