2058. Current Introduction to GardenWorld Politics

Chapter 1. Starting point.  (Integrating humans with the earth.  A  comprehensive response to climate damage and underlying causes.

This you must always bear in mind, what is the nature of the whole, and what is my nature, and how this is related to that, and what kind of a part it is of what kind of a whole?     Marcus Aurelius Meditations

A competitive society plus ingenuity leads to mutual destruction and stupid mistakes. It is clear that is where we are.  Gardenworld takes us into the forefront of plausible approaches to the mess. Most people now realize we are up against an unprecedented crisis for humanity. Most discussion is about what is wrong, some discussion about how we got in this mess, and very little a-discussion about what to do . What we must do can start with thinking about food and helping those who are hurt by the rapid emergence of cascading crises. 

The rich and the urban have always looked down on the farmer but loved the food,  delighted in gardens but disdained gardening. This will change as circumstances force a new consensus.  Gardenworld – a better future,  its politics, economy and philosophy,  is dramatic on purpose, not because the book lives up to it, but because the crisis is real and all starts are good. We are facing many simultaneous challenges, and not responding very well. Climate heating, population, migrations, weakness of governments, failure to distribute the  benefits of society. Gardenworld is a project whose time has come,  its politics, economy and philosophy. Gardenworld is the most practical framework for responding.  In essence it is because the primary need for humanity will be food, and meaning. Collapse or not, Gardenworld is a good goal.

To cope with a different future from growth and technology we will need to take apart our belief in progresses as linear and inevitable. We have a line something like  the wheel, the clock, the printing press, electricity, TV, iPhones. And we think this is progress, unquestioned. But in parallel with this line we have another within  military at the center of invention, guns, slavery, raising up wealth and pushing down ordinary people to be labor. It is clear that this pair of parallel lines tells us that maybe it isn’t progress after all, but a mixed bag we can – and must – rethink.

Economics, a Greek word was for the Greeks Estate management, and we need a new sense of managing the globe for the good of humans.   We have a positive agenda ahead if we embrace it: ecological restoration, and the distribution of the fruits of technology so it really is labor saving.  Politics is the lost art of managing conflict in human communities. Philosophy should be our reflections on what we are doing. We are born in to the middle of the story. As I write (May 2019) there is a growing consensus that we will not do what would be necessary to prevent warming beyond 2 degrees.  We are acting as though we can prevent the triggering of climate change, but the cause is in the past and once the gun is fired you can’t put the bullet back, you can only deal with the consequences. Also  there is much more going wrong than climate, such as the inability of governance to act.

Since London passed legislation declaring a state of climate emergency all indicators have gotten worse. In particular increasing the ppm of CO2 in atmosphere. Public anger and concern are growing with no solutions (that both scale and make an adequate difference) in sight.

Since the public discussion is increasingly reflecting a sense of despair that we will do anything but drift, this provocation is based on the idea that we need to be thinking through the issues that arise from that consensus.

We are facing many simultaneous challenges, and not responding very well. Climate heating, population, migrations, weakness of governments, failure to distribute the  benefits of society. This is the dilemma: doing nothing will have a bad end and all the adequate proposals to actually do something are grim.   We need what in boating is called  jettisoning: throwing overboard unneeded stuff in order to keep afloat. We need to explore the real possibilities of what  to jettison. Proposed solutions to global heating: sequestration, solar panels, nuclear power, vegetarianism, all take too much time and  expense to manufacture and deploy to scale. Economics 2500 years ago meant estate management. Now  we need a new sense of managing  our current globalized estate for the good of humans.

We are acting as though we can prevent the triggering of climate change, say by shifting from carbon to alternative sources of energy – solar and wind, and as yet unspecified new technologies.  But the cause is already in the past and once the gun is fired we can only deal with the consequences.  We have relied too long on a mix of technology, free markets banks, representative government and media – and the result is a serious failure. Can we, with common sense, technology, cooperation, and care, do better?

This is a serious hit on a public that already feels it has no place in the elite technical futures (who needs workers?), and whose income has,  by staying level for decades (in the US), actually means declines because of the rise of necessary expenditures  –  iPhone and longer commutes.  The press also reports on money spent to protect seaside wealthy communities.

Politics may be one of the most difficult parts of getting us to a better future. As of now, scientific consensus is that we need a major cutback on the use of fossil fuels.  How can that be done? It seems like it requires an agreement among all of us because if some resist it would weakening the impact of any group decision. But politics has come to be guided by partial interests, not social reality.

If we have just a few years to act, we need to make some critical moves. Draconian moves (small violation lead to major punishments).  Politicians just are not going to do this – yet.   So, draconian moves will be necessary that might force the public, society, and  institutions to move toward a different way of living.

Here are several of many possibilities of draconian moves.(Remember the scientific view is that we must cut fossil fuel use, not b6 2050, but soon, now. and we are not doing it.)

As of the first of next month, no more air travel. Well, many people are not at home, but traveling. Do we allow them to return?  If they all tried in the days remaining in the month there are not enough flights to do this. And how many would game the system? And would the ground and flight crews show up? Of course the legal response.  – well. But this is the kind of action that will  be needed to shake up the system and force a move toward meeting the 2 degree (or perhaps 1,5 degree) goal. The  FAA could do this, though legal responses would happen in hours.

Other possibilities:

No fuel for trucks as of next month. No food delivered at any distance. Total chaos within 48 hours. (Or within minutes of the announcement. )  part of our failure of governance is it is not clear that this could be done, even if necessary. Perhap Food and Drug in concert with  the Interstate Commerce Commission could do this.

No going to jobs that are not contributions to survival . Who decides?

No fuel for heating homes. Must use electric appliances, not gas. How many? Who manufactures that many with a manufacturing process that does not also contribute to CO2 emissions? And who pays for the individual new appliances house by house??

If a home can’t be heated, why pay the mortgage? Banks fail. Cascading effects  are going to be more than the number of words in today’s newspaper.

Politics as we know it cannot deliver these effects. Could a popular revolt? And would a popular revolt have such goals in mind, or merely use violence to get the resources to continue a few more months, days??

A popular revolt would be met by the power of the state – if the national guard would show up. Unlikely. The draconian moves would lead to local chaos which would lead to the emergence of mafia-like local strong men “We provide you with security, you provide us with goods.” If there are any left  after 48 hour.?

This is grim, yet  only by seeing it can we imagine alternatives, and maybe not even then. You should believe that many groups: wealthy, military, corporate, are having these conversations.

But, need we be reminded, without something like such draconian moves the result will be the boiled frog. Inaction also leads to cascading failures. Imagine the workers at the electric company walking  away from their jobs.

Politics is about conflict, and to avoid politics is to hope there is no conflict. But politics has been since Aristotle  recognized as the way society handles actually existing conflict. The history from tribe to monarchy to plutocracy to parliamentary and representative democracy is attempts to deal with conflict in a reasoned way. We are in that incomplete process. The unfinished French Revolution seeking liberty, justice and equality, or the American version life liberty and the pursuit of happiness have left us with self-protecting elites which want to avoid the passion of serious change.

My own view is that amidst the terrible predictions it is important to keep working on the best plausible solution, which I think is some combination of agriculture and civilization, what I have called Gardenworld. Food will be the most important task as climate destruction increases,  Our spirit needs to be hopeful and aesthetic, growing food and people in the same attractive environments  is something to hope for and work towards. We do our best. That has dignity to it.  If we fail, so be it. No guarantees as those living in past collapsed empires know.  But just maybe we can wiggle through. Then the task continues with the next generations. But even wiggling through requires a near immediate stop to all use of carbon fuels. 

But there is a glimmer of hope – maybe. It is very important, when all seems to be going badly, to seek out an attractive path that just might work , and work on it till it does. We have relied too long on a mix of technology, free markets banks, representative government and media – and the result is a serious failure. Can we, with common sense, technology, cooperation, and care, do better? Ecological restoration and true labor saving technology managed for the good of all. We genetically have been modern urbanites and hunter gatherer\s. We can handle major shifts in world conditions, an probabaly will need to again. Our habits and tastes will wok against rapid change, but that is going to be our challenge – how to stop being who are are and adapting rapidly.

” There is no way to suppress change, the story says, there is only a choice between a way of living that allows constant, if gradual, alterations and a way of living that combines great control and cataclysmic upheavals.”  – Lewis Hyde  The Trickster makes the world

We are in trouble. People around the world are aware of the problem of climate change –  but also aware that in the talk about what to do there is no plan for reconfiguring normal life. This makes everyone very anxious. People are not active because they have no idea what to do. Cutting fossil fuel use means something like no flying, no heating with gas, threats to food supply,  the closing down of jobs that are part of the old economy but use some fossil fuels. It is not crazy to stay in a leaky canoe if you do not have an alternative canoe. People are considering really bad outcomes. Keeping alive some form of hope requires that we have a vision that, unlikely, is still possible and worth working up for. We might need to revisit the impact of the 1400’s plague where about half the population was lost.

We later civilizations, we too know we are vulnerable – Pail Valery 1899.

I am proposing that a mix of nature and civilization combines the most attractive aspects of existing and potential societies. I am calling this effort Gardenworld because  it seems to stick in people’s minds  and generate plausible hope  when people hear about it. There will be a post crisis world. Lets build for it. The mantra here is ecological restoration and true labor saving technology which enhances distribution, no longer narrowing it. Combine this with quality of life across the human life cycle and you have Gardenworld. 

Economy begin with the domestication of herds and the awareness  the production of new head of cattle. The very word Capital comes from the Latin Cap, head, as in new head of cattle. Managing that increase in the herd suggests that human history can be seen as the expansion and  complexification of that original herd management to the current (failing) management of humanity in relation to the earth. We have moved from tribes to empires and on to the nation states and globalization, giving us the city and the country,  and a quality of life.  How does that relate to the reality of outcomes.  I think it helps to see the sweep from cattle to the current world situation as a single line of development.We are taught to see this line as a series on technically driven transformations and discontinuities, but at the same time there is continuity of elites across all transformations. Gardenworld is an attempt to get out of the trap of this history

This means consciously mixing architecture, landscaping,  agriculture,  and institutions – all with the goal of successful human living across the life cycle  with an excellent quality of life. I am calling this effort Gardenworld. Gardenworld is not a plan but an intent, a guide, a series of ideas to guide future efforts.

So I will be discussing design criteria – that is, what is the nature of human beings and of being human and the implications for the kind of world that not only grows food but grows people. Western thinkers made a mistake in searching out how humans are different from animals. The ways we are similar just might be much more important.

After discussing the nature of being human I will further discuss key issues for garden world. To help us think through to such a world the next chapters discuss

        Where are we?

        How did we get here?

        What can happen?

        What should we do?

The core idea is that Gardenworld, with its flexibility and invitation to local innovations, is a plausible world to:

  • Maintain as much as possible as we go through the worst of climate change.
  • Have a goal in mind that most people can say yes to, a goal that give guidance to every act.

To get there we need

  • New economics
  • New politics
  • New philosophy

This book started twenty years ago as GardenWorld Politics,  I just wanted a nicer world.   But then I started a series of notes to colleagues about economics and its relation to climate change. I soon realized that while their tendency was to see the world, especially the third world, as ok and only needing some new policies and modest reforms,   I saw this world , based on lots of travel and living three years in Mexico, as going badly while economists were misleading with claims about “per capita GDP” and “lower mortality rates.”    Climate change emerged with more force in the midst of my thinking, and I was sorry to judge myself as deaf to implications , when I heard  about climate warming and CO 2  in a seminar in La Jolla in 1984, and ignored what I heard, like so many others, for three decades. My casual research turned more serious. This book, the result,  is a kind of  workbook, to share with you , as a studio to think through what can happen  now and how we should act. It is, as a workbook is likely to be, incomplete, a series of sketches, notes,  dead ends, and hopefully useful lines of inquiry. We are part of republic of thinkers drawn to each others’ ideas for clues and companionship. 

If you were conscious in 2000 you are probably feeling some similarities to y2k. There are several important differences. For y2k it was clear where the problem was – in the computer code that ran legacy systems – and people could be assigned to deal with it. These are not present in climate heating.  For y2k the event was coming. In climate heating the problem was caused a long time ago and we are living with consequences.


To write simply of deep things – Murakami.


2033. The Democrats have no path.

Democrats and much of the voters are stuck. The old Democratic party of workers evolved since the 60’s to representing the professional middle class represented by the Clinton’s. The problem now is, the Democrats can’t go back, because the labor they lost became the middle class that is now losing out, and those people don’t want to be labor, they want to be middle class and have salaries, not wages.. That group, the vulnerable middle class , is looking for a solution that will give them good salaried employment,  but  the context is climate change and the need to use no carbon fuel. Automation also is in the wings ready to compete for any new jobs.

There is no possibility of a vibrant middle class of consumer style living. The population will need to embrace agriculture to survive. No politician is yet ready to tell this truth. What the people want the Democrats cannot deliver and people in their frustration – in a huge game of musical chairs – are attracted to Trump’s disruptions, which going much further will lead to wars arrests, closings.



Post 2027. Strategy and climate – by whom? What?r

There are three obvious sets of actors

  • corporate
  • state
  • decentralized
  • Unknown  4th?

What will happen is likely to be a mix with one dominant.

Four obvious approaches/strategies

  • Stop co2 and shrink the economy
  • Stop co2 and innovate green like mad to expand the economy
  • Just invent new technologies
  • Do nothing

Those who prefer decentralization with its open society with equity  (guaranteed annual income) approach are hostile to  what a massive corporate initiative might be like. My sense is that we will not do the future without taking into account the momentum of the present.  Corporations and capital certain dominate now. It is hard to believe that they would just give up to serious climate change, especially when the alternative as they see it might be “green rush” for the gold, with increasing centralization of wealth, class, power, and, they would hope, quality of life as the Plant struggles.. They would mobilize rapidly This is a challenge to government and local initiatives because the corporate feudal system  would want to not be motivated by the negative of climate but seize the day, milk the society for all the cash it can to invent, organize and profit from the activity.

That is, corporations would have a three-fold  agenda.

  • Deal with climate heating
  •  Increase but at least maintain capital flow by going massive  green
  • Maintain security for themselves (the top 1% plus their support people  in law,  politics, education, health, lan, etc.).

One unknown is the Internet

  • Internet of social surveillance
  • Inernet or organizing grass roots, local initiatives into a full bore coping with climate realitiies.

Aso unknown is the character of a majority of the people at the top. Push comes to shove, prefer a more decentralized or clearly corporatist society?


The Green New Deal proposes

  • stop fossil fuel to zero,
  • deal wiht the resulting social chaos wiht guarnateed annual wage, training.

The problem is what if we get the first but not the second? This is the approach I think the corporatists will want to take.





Post # 2035 Global management ​needs good economics

Provocation #203 Management needs good economics.

As society gets into trouble with climate, AI,  and governance, it is clear that we face major problems that are not being well managed.  If we start with the Greek economia as estate management we see that the concept was holistic: how to manage the estate for the well being of the people, with lots of discussion about what that meant.

Our own society is not being managed at the holistic level. The economists’ major perspective is equilibrium dynamics but the reality is business, investment nd politics are trying, Schumpeter style, to create disequilibria. Economists tend to assume that that equilibria  will lead to convergence, one solution, but in fact an achieved equilibrium is very subject to breakdowns and  punctuated equilibrium, where suddenly, instead of convergence, many new paths of divergence open up simultaneously.

If we were to think of the management of society as working management to create food, health, education and living conditions for all, we recognize that such management of the whole would require an economics as a major tool and perspective on what works, what doesn’t, and how to keep doing better.

The Greeks at Athens  also discussed the fact that the well managed estate produced a surplus and that the purpose of the surplus was to create leisure for philosophy and politics. Our view of surplus is to reinvest it in a cancerous process of growth without  a goal.

Unlike science,   economics  seems to fear contemplating hypotheses, “What if?” Economists seem compelled   to start with a set of numbers,  and then fit modeled curves to them. Poverty of thinking? What if our model of economy is not good for society because it systematically restricts the imagination of the economists “Make sure your papaer has some tables, some graphs and some equations, and avoid politics or popularization”

Speculation about how to manage the whole is not permitted while what we need is guidance. “Tell us what needs to be managed:  nuclear sites, air traffic.., production of the basics and their distribution.”  But economics seems to be absent from the task of managing the world. 

Governance needs an economics as a major tool for management.  Economists  brush off most concerns by saying  its just politics. In fact there has hardly ever been a time, with the growth of complexity and networks,  when economics is more needed. And what happens if it doesn’t provide the guidance and tools  for global managers?

Economy began focused on organic – grain, cattle – but over time has drifted to the industrial and the commercial where  the organic, especially food, makes up a smaller part of the consumer world. But needs  have not changed that much and going back to a proper management of the organic for human survival and quality-of-life is reemerging as necessary because climate change will shift the possibilities of food production and populations, leading to shortages and wars if we are not successful at  a task we havent yet undertaken. 


Computer programs  as models. When a  computer wins at Chess or Go, it has no experience of winning. We humans play for the enjoyment of the process. The computer has no such experience. What has been simulated is the mechanics of possibilities, not the experience of playing the game. Seems like a very weak simulation of the human experience. Nor can the computer experience disgust or awe. 


Comments needed.


Post # 2024 Revisit escape from freedom

Rethinking our institutions in the context of regaining the opening to freedom is one way of looking at the task.

This is certainly a time of tension. We have missed the obvious point – that we should have been creating an environment good for growing people across generations, in communities, and families. As a society, we are unable to deliver compassion where it is needed.  We need an economy that will support an ecology so that we will be healthy and educated,  and in love with life. But to do this we need a vision of where we are trying to get to. Our current world situation, including people, land and all that is spread out around us,  is not doing well. We need an approach which nurtures the world and its people, not just an enabler of an elite.

We need to manage the globe for the benefit of humanity.  No person or group should be marginalized. Can we learn to balance decentralization and centralization?

We need an image of where we are going. The last 100 years plus have been dominated by images of tech city, gleaming chrome, concrete, dead. What if we turned it around, focusing on the biological, the plant and animal, the scenic and parkland view? The proposal is to shift our efforts from a mechanical tech-based civilization to a biological, psychological and socially focused civilization. Technology will be necessary, even attractive and fun – but needs to be managed into relationships with the rest. Can we reduce privilege and increase compassion?  

Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom, written at the beginning of WW2, Made it clear that we had created a culture with  opportunities for new human freedom, but through narrowness of vision  we were missing the opportunity. He was writing in a different time but this time, our time,   raises the same questions.

Post # 2020. Which scenario?  will economics help manage the choice?

Provocation # 171 which scenario?  will economics help manage the choice?

As the political situation deteriorates we can foresee several possible groupings of interests

1. The Democratic party of the professional class (The Clinton grouping)

2. The disaffected: economically injured or threatened. Ferguson, et al, described)

3. The progressives:  Scandinavian style  social democracy and identity politics.

4. The Catastrophe grouping: global heating, tech replaces workers, government is broken and illegitimate, collapse of food production.

5. The holders of assets.

How will mainstream economics play among these four? Can it help manage the choice, or will it simply work to maintain continuity and existing momentum?  

Seems to me like a serious opportunity for economics.

post # 2018. Economics and world management.

provocation #  169. Economics and world management.

The world definitely needs managing – or some equivalent. Everything overlaps. Specialties don;’t work. The world is one but specialties divide it. Is there any path for economics that will make it a partner in world management? Or are we locked in to an economics that serves academic departments, quantifying bureaucracies and career management?

A management approach  would start with an understanding of what the world and its parts are, how they got that way, and what can happen, and then engage to help make the world move toward an ecology which can support the people. A management approach would be very negative toward those who saw the world as a game to be played for private gain, but realistic about the need for leadership with a  perspective that requires education and rewards.

I realize that I have become increasingly skeptical about the ability of humanity to do this. The question then reverts back to: what is the best use of our time given actual conditions?

Mandatory sequestering? Possible. Unlikely. Many overlapping jurisdictions. Economics could help sort these out. Unlikely. Possible. 


Note. The argument about the anthropocene is that humanity created this mess by sucking too hard and becoming dependent on stored energy. Andreas Malm in his Fossil Capital argues that such a perspective fails to notice that it wan’t humanity, it was some humans, resisted by others, who built our energy dependent society. To see the climate and energy dilemma as caused by human nature is hopeless. To see that some of us, from hunter gatherers on, resisted suggests that we are not up against human nature, but confronting the character of some in their   exploitation others. 

Note. The current world chaos is the product of the organization of wealth  and population that increasingly marginalize many and, despite Steven Pinker style thinking, the living conditions of an increasing number (maybe all of us if we include the ethos in which we live, the moral climate) are seriously deteriorating.

post # 2012 Retrospective on economics’ failure to engage.

In retrospect people will ask – why did economics keep supporting the system, or at best making small tweaks (tax rates, bank reserves ) but nothing capable of doing the obvious: modeling and discussing what needs to be done to stop the momentum toward crises, to prepare for a post crisis world.The critiques of what’s wrong in society, the economy or economics are good, but stop short of proposing actions.

There is widespread agreement that the .01% have too much wealth which has been achieved through a combination of policies and taxes, but are there any proposals on how to get it back in a timely fashion capable of preventing disasters? Or is there the widely shared understanding that anything done to recalibrate the system would lead to cascading side effects that would bring the system down anyway?

Who does some interesting thought experiments? For example,

“As of this date no house can be sold for more than was paid for it.”

There is of course no way yet this could be done. But lets imagine and learn from the imaginings.

Immediate consequences are easy to imagine. Buying a house as an investment rather than as a place to live would cease. Totally unfair for example for people who have owned heir house for a long time and paid very little for it. Draconian? Messy. Yes. But are not the consequences of not doing anything radical also going to be very messy, maybe even messier? I think we learn from such experiments.

Look at the curves: global temperatures, population, adaptation of automation, lack of living wages, civil strife, student debt, bad management of the overall production process: raw materials, manufacturing, disposal – all terrible, and mutually reinforcing.

There is a tendency to avoid social engineering (mechanical socialism soviet style), but forget that the US Constitution was a social invention, now not going so well. Part of the goal of that invention was to create a system impossible to change (especially redistribution of property). So we are up against the limits of that design. Can the invention of America and the Constitution be redesigned?

Good background is Garry Wills’ book, Inventing America.

Re E.O.Wilson. From

Will we solve the crises of next hundred years? asked Krulwich. “Yes, if we are honest and smart,” said Wilson. “The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall.” Until we understand ourselves, concluded the Pulitzer-prize winning author of On Human Nature, “until we answer those huge questions of philosophy that the philosophers abandoned a couple of generations ago—Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?—rationally,” we’re on very thin ground.

Post #2008 Constraints within economics prevent engagement.

What are the self-imposed constraints on new economic thinking?

The purpose of science is to give as best we can a picture of relevant reality. It is not the results of applying a method to a problem only because the problem is tractable with the method. Aa Aristotle made clear, each un known has is appropriate method.The first criteria is to pick a good enough example of the problem that, if understood, would actually throw light on the problem, not just on the method.

Economics seems to operate under extreme constraints on what it can or should study. Big data can find the tiny fraction of you that correlates with the tiny fraction in many others, but it cannot find the Plato or Bob Dylan in you. So big data misses lots that is relevant to actual humans. The admonition to grad students and tenure seekers to find a good data set might be good careerism but bad science.

If we accept the constraints, like keeping economics separate from politics or the other social sciences, how can we live up to the challenge for new economic thinking? New economic thinking probably requires introducing new aspects of reality, new “variables”, into the discussion. To introduce new methods without considering new aspects of reality probably can’t bring us very far and reflect a conservative – “things have to change in order to remain the same” approach, which might provide an important clue as to the motive for the slow movement of new economic thinking.

Constraints emerge because we stay within assumptions that we do not violate:

The assumption of capitalism.
The assumption that ownership is not a legitimate category of economics
The lack of discussion of the caste system that divided us into owners and workers, labor and capital.The legitimacy of corporations

Economics bypasses all the interesting categories of how the day is spent by an unemployed spouse, by the retired, trust fund babies, artists choosing poverty, those filling out time to retirement by playing videos at their desks, adventurers. We don’t look at the content – much of which is not “economic”- of the lifestyles of the one percent.

Why do we stay within these constraints?

Good manners?
Not wanting to shake up colleagues?
Fear of consequences to career?
Fear of destabilizing society?

Put another way: the world needs managing of the relationship between humanity and the globe, which needs to be a mix if economics, ecology, politics, philosophy, historical understanding, dealing with human nature and civil society. Is economics up for it, or is it holding on to old assumptions that help prevent any integrated approach?

Is there a better way to frame the question?

Post # 2007. Numbers in physics and economics- the difference

Provocation #162 Numbers in physics and economics.

The fact of money as numbers is like catnip for the mathematically inclined. But for something to become a number subject to economic analysis it has to go through a very complex social process of culture building, trust, faith, shared intuition about the worth of something in dollar terms, and the growth of supporting institutions..
Physics is just the opposite.The numbers are given by nature. True, a social process of inventing physics is necessary to be able to see the numbers, but the numbers are not generated by a social process.

The result is that the potentially most interesting parts of economics are ignored: how trust develops, the interaction between the social and the physical worlds, how desires and needs are amplified by media, how style emerges, how preferences form (the Trojan Horse of a more human centered economics), for example the US style stand-alone house vs. the close structure of the European hill-towns. Reflexivity means dynamics of a social field, but people are treated as isolated with internal preferences a bit like Plato’s innate ideas.

Economics could be about how society works and how to manage the interactions between humans and environment more skillfully – but not if sych workings with all their complexity are not seen as a question.
Economics students are told “search for data bases” and apply math and create your career.

A a 50 to 150 million dollar severance package after sexual misconduct? This is a symptom, not the sex but the money, of a broken society. Does it get questioned? Or is it just the productive function working its logic and acquiesced to by economists?
I keep coming back to Tim Cook: where is the analysis that says his compensation is based on an adequate economic model of real contributions to Apple’s success? Its customers, for example, are able to use an iPhone because of an expensive education (yes, even a four year old has benefited from much of society allowing them to become customers), but that is treated by Apple as an external it can monetize without having to pay for it. Cook’s wealth is socially generated, privately consumed. This is crazy making – to wit, the current deteriorating state of society which is unnerving us all, and, as Stieglitz says, inequality will continue to get worse. As is often argued, being at the top of a large pyramid should pay more than being at the top of a small pyramid. but this ignores that the existence of both pyramids is the work of a whole society over a number of years. Even the increasing size of a hierarchy under the guidance of a leader pulls together people, ideas, and properties created by others. Each building block of an organization has a history before its incorporation.

“The economy is doing well but society is doing badly.” Employment and the stock market are up, but impact of new jobs on the environment is continuing to increase the stress.

It is all very interesting and very important. But the siloed contributions found in most economic journal articles do not touch on these issues. If you Google “guaranteed annual income and inflation” simple issues like increases in rents and befits to owners and banks are not discussed or brushed over quickly. “The amount of cash put into society by a GAI is small in comparison to the overall GNP.” The reality of a homeless person with their GAI check trying to rent when all the spaces are rented is not explored. It is all gobbledygook with grammatical but not empirical integrity. Lets strive to be more relevant and interesting.

Meanwhile global temperatures and effects ratchet upwards where physics numbers and economic numbers occupy the same space.