Economics

It’s Time for New Economic Thinking Based on the Best Science Available, Not Ideology

A new narrative for a complex age

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By Eric Beinhocker 

If 2008 was the year of the financial crash, 2016 was the year of the political crash. In that year we witnessed the collapse of the last of the four major economic-political ideologies that dominated the 20th century: nationalism; Keynesian Pragmatism; socialism; and neoliberalism. In the 1970s and 80s the centre right in many countries abandoned Keynesianism and adopted neoliberalism. In the 1980s and 90s the centre left followed, largely abandoning democratic socialism and adopting a softer version of neoliberalism.

For a few decades we thought the end of history had arrived and political battles in most OECD countries were between centre-right and centre-left parties arguing in a narrow political spectrum, but largely agreeing on issues such as free trade, the benefits of immigration, the need for flexible efficient markets, and the positive role of global finance. This consensus was reinforced by international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, and OECD, and the Davos political and business elite.

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In 2008 that consensus was rocked, last year it crumbled. Some will cling on to the idea that the consensus can be revived. They will say we just need to defend it more vigorously, the facts will eventually prevail, the populist wave is exaggerated, it’s really just about immigration, Brexit will be a compromise, Clinton won more votes than Trump, and so on. But this is wishful thinking. Large swathes of the electorate have lost faith in the neoliberal consensus, the political parties that backed it, and the institutions that promoted it. This has created an ideological vacuum being filled by bad old ideas, most notably a revival of nationalism in the US and a number of European countries, as well as a revival of the hard socialist left in some countries.

History tells us that populist waves can lead to disaster or to reform. Disaster is certainly a realistic scenario now with potential for an unravelling of international cooperation, geopolitical conflict, and very bad economic policy. But we can also look back in history and see how, for example, in the US at the beginning of the 20th century Teddy Roosevelt harnessed populist discontent to create a period of major reform and progress.

So how might we tilt the odds from disaster to reform? First, listen. The populist movements do contain some racists, xenophobes, genuinely crazy people, and others whom we should absolutely condemn. But they also contain many normal people who are fed up with a system that doesn’t work for them. People who have seen their living standards stagnate or decline, who live precarious lives one paycheque at a time, who think their children will do worse than they have. And their issues aren’t just economic, they are also social and psychological. They have lost dignity and respect, and crave a sense of identity and belonging.

They feel – rightly or wrongly – that they played by the rules, but others in society haven’t, and those others have been rewarded. They also feel that their political leaders and institutions are profoundly out of touch, untrustworthy, and self-serving. And finally they feel at the mercy of big impersonal forces – globalisation, technology change, rootless banks and large faceless corporations. The most effective populist slogan has been “take back control”.

After we listen we then have to give new answers. New narratives and policies about how people’s lives can be made better and more secure, how they can fairly share in their nation’s prosperity, how they can have more control over their lives, how they can live with dignity and respect, how everyone will play by the same rules and the social contract will be restored, how openness and international cooperation benefits them not just an elite, and how governments, corporations and banks will serve their interests, and not the other way around.

This is why we need new economic thinking. This is why the NAEC initiative is so important. The OECD has been taking economic inequality and stagnation seriously for longer than most, and has some of the best data and analysis of these issues around. It has done leading work on alternative metrics other than GDP to give insight into how people are really doing, on well-being. It is working hard to articulate new models of growth that are inclusive and environmentally sustainable. It has leading initiatives on education, health, cities, productivity, trade, and numerous other topics that are critical to a new narrative.

But there are gaps too. Rational economic models are of little help on these issues, and a deeper understanding of psychology, sociology, political science, anthropology, and history is required. Likewise, communications is critical – thick reports are important for government ministries, but stories, narratives, visuals, and memes are needed to shift the media and public thinking.

So what might such a new narrative look like? My hope is that even in this post-truth age it will be based on the best facts and science available. I believe it will contain four stories:

  • A new story of growth
  • A new story of inclusion
  • A new social contract
  • A new idealism

This last point doesn’t get discussed enough. Periods of progress are usually characterised by idealism, common projects we can all aspire to. Populism is a zero-sum mentality – the populist leader will help me get more of a fixed pie. Idealism is a positive-sum mentality – we can do great things together. Idealism is the most powerful antidote to populism.

Finally, economics has painted itself as a detached amoral science, but humans are moral creatures. We must bring morality back into the centre of economics in order for people to relate to and trust it. All of the science shows that deeply ingrained, reciprocal moral behaviours are the glue that holds society together. Understanding the economy as not just an amoral machine that provides incentives and distributes resources, but rather as a human moral construct is essential, not just for creating a more just economy, but also for understanding how the economy actually creates prosperity.

In short, it is time to forge a new vision that puts people back at the centre of our economy. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, it is time to create an economy that is “of the people, by the people, for the people.” We are truly at a fluid point in history. It could be a great step backwards or a great step forwards. We must all push forwards together.

Based on remarks originally delivered to the OECD New Approaches to Economic Challenges workshop, December 14, 2016, Paris.

2017 January 31


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  • Re “So what might such a new narrative look like? My hope is that even in this post-truth age it will be based on the best facts and science available. I believe it will contain four stories:

    A new story of growth
    A new story of inclusion
    A new social contract
    A new idealism”

    I agree, we need that.

    The irony for ‘middle Europe’ is that we had / have this ‘new model’ already decades ago.

    It’s called social market economy with two major ‘subforms’ in a) Germany and the Netherlands and b) in the Scandinavian countries – and then came along Reaganomics, Thatcherism and many, many consultants introducing anglosaxon ‘pure’ market economy, control mechanisms, and turning implicit value oriented into explicit regulation based governance …

    To be fair, the old ‘social market capitalism’ had also its contraints, its ossified elements that made it vulnerable to attacks based on pure individualistic market capitalism.

    • Oswaldo Lairet

      I’ve confirmed your view using Maddison’s research + the symmetry principle (http://bit.ly/2kKF6XC). Math also confirms economics’ evolutionary underpinning (http://bit.ly/2lgrh0l)

    • Oswaldo Lairet

      The charts in both notes provide such obvious proof, they leave no doubt as to why for instance, 1) elementary finance, a subject key to individual survival is not part of our early-life curriculum or 2) why Economics doesn’t teach what dynamics truly govern human ecosystems. The answer: Information Monopoly, key to power in our species.

  • Ishi Crew

    I have been readings like this one for 20 years. I just rewrote I wrote 10 years ago called ‘Notes Towards a Scientific Culture’ for an essay contest in economics (sponsored by http://www.thenextsystem.org —partly for the money since I have little.)
    I am only familiar with Beinhocker from his book on ‘complexity economics’ from 2007, which basically covers very similar territory as 2 volumes produced by the Santa Fe Institute in the 90’s So when I hear we need something ‘new’ — a new economics, a new paradigm —. I am skeptical (just as I am when someone comes out with a new book which says anthropogenic global warming is an important issue–I though this had been known since the 80’s.)

    My view (which I promoted in my essay) is the biggest problem now is diffusion of information, redundancy, beurocracy and bottlenecks.

    There are sort of ‘2 cultures’—one culture which has known for a long time that traditional economic paradigms are flawed, that the world is nonlinear and complex, that standard conceptions of growth-(that more is better), work (it doesn’t matter what you produce, only that you produce something—vegetables or tobacco, software or malware), and renumeration (people get paid exactly what they deserve) are out of date.

    The other culture lives by traditional stories or paradigms—the world was created in 7 days, the earth is flat (or ‘fat’ according to Thomas Friedman), that our world is at ‘the end of history and the new man’ (Fukyama), and in a ‘clash of civilizations’ (Huntington), and economics is well described by some sort of combination of the theories of Adam Smith (markets and division of labor), Bentham (behavior is governed by simple—-not complex–utility maximization), Hayek and Shumpeter, and general equilibrium theory.

    The two cultures are ‘self organized’ and don’t interact much—they listen to different media and have different leaders and heros.

    Neither culture has much incentive to get out of their safe, self-organized space.

    Maybe web sites like evonomics and a few related programs in education and media can break down this divide, but that is a slow process. (But even within the professional economic discipline, where theoretically people are open minded and critical thinkers, ‘complexity economics’ was not really accepted with open arms, and to an extent still is not—especially in economic commentators in mass media and politics.)

    In sum, I don’t really think we really need new stories of growth, inclusion, contract, idealism. These stories are already out there (though sure, one can always create new variants and versions, just as one can write a new paper on nonlinear dynamics –but in general it will be just a variant, with nothing groundbreaking in it). The problem is getting the stories told to people who haven’t heard them.

    This is where the issue of ‘inclusion’ comes in. One can just look at the pictures of the people who write for evonomics — I don’t see alot of diversity there, which to me means not much effort is being made to be inclusive. As an environmentalist I know this issue has also plagued that movement—they want to have mass support, but often done little outreach beyond their own communities, which tend be relativeley socially and economically homogeneous. Now they are making the effort because they have learned they need a bigger, more diverse and inclusive movement.

    Alot of green groups promote ‘decentralization’ or ‘franchising’ (like fast food chains). Rather than have large top down organizations with large budgets (whether universities, research think tanks, or political parties) one should have many small community based ones. In some places there are ‘food deserts’ (including where I live)—meaning nothing but junk food is conveniantly obtainable.

    The same is true for ‘science’ and ‘new stories’. My area is somewhat of an intellectual desert. Actually, there is a wealth of intellectual resources in my area, as there food stores well stocked with healthy food. But to a large extent these are not really available to half the people. They are for the ‘urban, educated elite’ or ‘new class’. Also, many focus on ‘old stories’ but using new tools like econophysics and big data. To a large extent they focus on creating more elites and recreating a society stratified by income, information and culture.

    They also don’t invite much participation–its either entertainment, career training, or basically asking for mass support..

    • Ishi, I sent you several days ago on Facebook a request to connect. When we have, I’ll explain what I have in mind. Lev

      • Ishi Crew

        i confirmed

    • Ishi, your description of Adam Smith, Hayek and Schumpeter leaves out their revolutionary side:

      – Adam Smith against feudalist / monopolist and pro liberal, on an equal footing competitive ‘models’ of the economic process, basing his hope on the newly emerging ‘professional’ state bureaucracy that is accountable for its decisions based on and bound by law.

      – Schumpeter on the advantages of individual, creative, innovative entrepreneurship and the dangers of large-scale corporations and

      – Hayek on the impossibility of an all-knowing economic planner able to provide comprehensive central planning, therefore the need for a process of integrating partial, distributed knowledge by many different actors and against ossifying ‘ideological’ better-knowing ‘bureaucratic’ structures.

      These stories have indeed been also been ‘misappropriated’ by various interests – ironically to create precisely the structures criticized by these three economists under a ‘pure market’ guise. Thus these economists can and need to be used against these misapropriated stories.

  • Red Wine Please

    IMO, after reading essays on behavioral economics, chaos theory, this essay and others in Evonomics, and replies from Crew and Reschke, this is all about culture and how to make changes for the “common good”. Not easy. Takes time. Usually takes some endogenous or exogenous stressor to motivate cultural change. Complacency in the populous is hard to overcome. Besides, no matter how well one knows how to teach, the student must want to learn.

    Evonomics is one of many green shoots in the landscape advocating and supporting change.

  • It has to be about far more than economics.

    There are so many dimensions to the issues facing us, ethical, interest, risk, predictability, security, freedom, technology.

    Ethics is a complex topic, and at root seems to boil down to the survival of something at some level. Different ethical systems seem to evolve around the sorts of “something” one identifies, and the sorts of contexts it exists in. For me, personally, it is about sapient life first and foremost (every individual, where sapient is defined as a sufficient level of complexity to be able to conceive of itself as an actor with freedom of choice, in its own internally generated model of reality), followed by the freedom of all such sapient individuals to act in whatever way they reasonably choose (where reasonable in this sense means having due regard to the risk profiles of action on the life and liberty of all others, which by inference includes a duty of care for the environment that sustains us all). Note that there are no hard boundaries, as it seems clear that we live in an open complex system, that seems to contain the possibility of an infinite set of infinite sets of possibilities, many of which are not predictable, and some of which pose existential risk.
    We are all complex entities, capable of all extremes of behaviour, from the most cooperative at the highest levels, to the most competitive at the lowest levels. Finding ways of allowing expression of all modalities, in contexts that are appropriate to the survival of all, is the greatest challenge. In simplistic terms, we all have our good and bad sides, every individual, however ethically advanced, faces deep ethical challenges and is prone to error. Designing systems that are resilient to such errors at all levels is challenging.

    Game designers have long known that there is a boundary between anxiety and boredom that keeps interest. Highway designers similarly know that people adjust their behaviour to a risk profile they are happy with; make a better road and people speed up so the accident rate remains the same.
    Whatever humans do, we have to be in environments that keep our attention, without being too high a risk.
    The huge issue with that is the spread of risk profile preferences present in the population – so great that what is boredom for someone at one end of the spectrum can be extreme anxiety for someone at the other end.
    This applies to every domain, every level of human activity.

    We are all very different in our skill sets, and in what we consider acceptable levels of risk.
    Finding effective tools to allow us to manage risk profiles that become extremely complex multidimensional landscapes is non-trivial.
    It seems that have a wide diversity of intersecting independent networks is a key part of any effective strategy. Centralised systems are vulnerable both to single point failure and to single point capture. Decentralaisation and massive redundancy are fundamental strategies for resilience (at all levels).

    Part of assessing risk is predictability, but our knowledge of complex systems is now such that we know that there are many different classes of systems that are fundamentally unpredictable. These include maximal computational complexity, chaotic systems, stochastic systems, and aspects of fractal systems.
    Exploration of infinities involves unknowns.
    Risk is part of existence.
    Assessing and balancing risk is often at least as much art as science.

    Security in any absolute sense is myth, yet we each require security in a more normal probabilistic sense of reasonable expectation.
    Existing economic systems have reach a failure point, where the scarcity based valuation system of markets is meeting the exponential ability of automated systems to deliver universal abundance, and those two systems are fundamentally at variance with each other.
    Every individual needs an abundance of all the essentials of life and liberty.
    Automated systems can deliver that, but in an economic system their value drops to zero, so the economic incentive set is directly opposed to the reasonable needs of individuals.
    Some sort of Universal Basic Income (UBI) at around the $20K per person, universally (every person on the planet) would seem to be a reasonable transition strategy to get us past the existing choke point.

    Freedom is never absolute. Our existence is only possible because of boundaries. All freedom comes with limits, with responsibilities, with constraints. And at the highest levels there must be reasonable choice about the nature of those constraints, and given the infinities present, it seems there may be no end to that process, should we live for the rest of eternity. It seems that life will always involve negotiation of limits at the boundaries, and more clearly defined areas of freedoms within territories that have been more thoroughly explored.

    We now have technology that allow us to automate any and all processes essential to human survival. There is no longer any need to force individuals into economic roles. And a human will always do things differently to an automated process, so there will always be niches for anyone who wants to choose any sort of goods or service delivery; and it should also be possible for individuals to choose other sorts of activities that have no direct economic benefit – particularly in the arts and sciences, but also in the humanities more generally.

    So any replacement set of systems needs to meet all of these criteria.
    The popularity of the Harry Potter series clearly demonstrates something about the popularity of the idea that we each have the hero and the villain within us, and we are each both at different times. Acceptance of diversity, and being there for others when they are at their worst, is an essential part of being human, one that our economic systems need to reflect.

  • Janet Marks

    “In 2008 that consensus was rocked, last year it crumbled. Some will
    cling on to the idea that the consensus can be revived. They will say we
    just need to defend it more vigorously, the facts will eventually
    prevail, the populist wave is exaggerated, it’s really just about
    immigration, Brexit will be a compromise, Clinton won more votes than
    Trump, and so on. But this is wishful thinking. Large swathes of the
    electorate have lost faith in the neoliberal consensus, the political
    parties that backed it, and the institutions that promoted it. This has
    created an ideological vacuum being filled by bad old ideas, most
    notably a revival of nationalism in the US and a number of European
    countries, as well as a revival of the hard socialist left in some
    countries.”

    Hmm A revival of the hard socialist left. By this one sentence the writer reveals their political bias. As a Labour Party member in the UK, I reject this lable. It has been thrown at Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, as if they’re the same as Militant in the 80s. This is lazy writing and shows an ignorance of what is happening on the ground. Corbyn’s programme is the same as Carl Henning Reschke promotes below – a social market economy, with an understanding of climate change integrated within it, so that the concept of ‘growth’ is carefully reviewed.

    • Just a note: in Germany the social market economy certainly evolved over the last decades from more socialist leaning ideological beginnings right after WWII (while practically often ‘less complexly’ regulated than today) as lessons drawn from the Nazi and Weimar periods. It was and is largely accepted and carried by all sides – conservatives, liberals and left – with differing weights according to their political views.

      All (well most) know that redistribution and social inclusion, the responsibility asked from and taken by wealth (grudgingly) provide the social stability needed for stable, reliable business and economic growth. Ideology has gained ground on the neoliberal side (usually by managers and ‘business type’ people not understanding the limits of economic concepts based on models – indicating ironically when neoliberal mechanisms break down) and idealistic intellectuals on the left not understanding that they are dealing with an open, interconnected, dynamic system.

      Disclaimer: I am an economist by education, in business by profession and an intellectual as a side hobby.

  • Kevin Cox

    The way we fund investment with debt is hopelessly inefficient. Fix the debt problem loan by loan and a more efficient economy emerges. Savings will be invested efficiently and profitably and most of the problems with the existing economy will be replaced with new more benign problems. Search medium.com for “evolving economies” to see how to do it.

  • Yes, exactly. One of these new “narratives” is the focus on entrepreneurship that is relatively new where I live in Germany. There are now TV shows where founders tell there business idea. But what is missing I think is a focus on “social entrepreneurship” or “for-benefit” companies. Companies that are not only making profits but also generate social “value”. Then there is a lot of new technology out there that is not used to it’s full extend: the internet of things, artificial intelligence, etc. So as a first shot of “my” narrative I created a book (which is at this point in time only available in german). It’s called “Die komplexe Perspektive” (the complexity perspective). See http://komplexe-perspektive.dinkla.net

    • Just had a short look at the book – looks like it’s very good in the sense that it gives an introduction that does not require much pre-knowledge and still links the the topics well.

      • Thank you. Yes, one of my goals was to assume as little pre-knowledge as possible.

  • Cristian Megyes

    The only solution is in limiting accumulated wealth. The current non-limitation of wealth allows richer people to concentrate more wealth and as a consequence, markets become more and more imperfect. The wealthiest seek to have more economic power, trying to control the most important sectors of the economy, including the government. Their tendency is to increase their profits, lower costs and lower investments. And for this they are capable of doing anything, even of committing all kinds of economic crime (including non-economic crimes, if is needed for their objetives).
    There is no other solution that is to avoid the imperfection of markets, with laws. So we must, legally, generate the economic conditions so that markets are as perfect as possible. And for this we must avoid the concentration of wealth in few. This proposition of the limit to the unlimited accumulation is unique: it is neither communism nor crony capitalism. It is to allow society to grow economically, by real competition.

    • Jim

      Abraham Lincoln said “you cannot make the weak strong by making the strong weak” and I quite agree. Limiting the accumulation of wealth does nothing to elevate, empower, or educate a person living in a hovel.

      The person living in a hovel will be greatly empowered if he gains title to an interest / dividend paying account which sends him a check every month.

      This is neatly explained by The Just Third Way and The Capital Homestead Act, which is the modern version of Lincoln’s Homestead Act, which afforded widespread property ownership.

      Power follows property, always was, is now and always will be.

      Own or be owned.

      Every Citizen an Owner.

  • Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

    New economic thinking, or, let’s put lipstick on the dead pig
    Comment on Eric Beinhocker on ‘It’s Time for New Economic Thinking Based on the Best Science Available, Not Ideology’

    For non-economists the most important thing to know about economics is that there is NO economic science. Yes, there is a prize with the title: “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” but NOTHING REAL corresponds to the word Sciences.

    For non-economists the most important thing is to keep political and theoretical economics apart. The main differences are: (i) The goal of political economics is to successfully push an agenda, the goal of theoretical economics is to successfully explain how the actual economy works. (ii) In political economics anything goes; in theoretical economics the scientific standards of material and formal consistency are observed.

    The goal of theoretical economics is the TRUE theory: “In order to tell the politicians and practitioners something about causes and best means, the economist needs the true theory or else he has not much more to offer than educated common sense or his personal opinion.” (Stigum)

    For non-economists the most important thing is to realize is that theoretical economics (= science) had been hijacked from the very beginning by political economics (= agenda pushing). Political economics has produced NOTHING of scientific value in the last 200+ years. Economics is a failed science.

    So, yes indeed, new economic thinking is urgently needed. This new thinking has to advance from political agenda pushing to science. This, though, is not what Eric Beinhocker understands under new economic thinking. For him, new economic thinking means to replace the old political agenda by a new political agenda.

    The political economist introduces himself as the emphatic person who fights for the good cause. He listens to the downtrodden people and takes them seriously: “But they [the populist movements] also contain many normal people who are fed up with a system that doesn’t work for them. People who have seen their living standards stagnate or decline, who live precarious lives one paycheque at a time, who think their children will do worse than they have. And their issues aren’t just economic, they are also social and psychological. They have lost dignity and respect, and crave a sense of identity and belonging.”

    See part 2

  • Patrick cardiff

    Inclusion, morality, the social contract, idealism, Who can argue with idealism? None of this stuff works, hasn’t in the past. You need to give people something other than ideology that they can chew on, and live with. We need pragmatism, applicable models that work for the conditions that we construct, likely the small-area conditions. Politics is a joke. It’s worse than a distraction now – it’s an interference. I could go on, but the only sense I can make of the morass is immediate and perhaps temporary increased regulation to protect the population harmed the most by rapacious capitalist practices. That set is not the traditional way Republicans in the US carry out their will.

  • Jim

    The best “antidote” to failed economic and political philosophy, i.e. capitalism or socialism is The Just Third Way and with its core proposal, The Capital Homestead Act. Born of Louis Kelso, Founder of Employee Stock Option Plans, calls for widespread capital ownership.

  • Myron Manuirirangi

    So what might such a new narrative look like? My hope is that even in this post-truth age it will be based on the best facts and science available. I believe it will contain four stories:

    A new story of growth
    A new story of inclusion
    A new social contract
    A new idealism
    ——–
    It exists! We called it Revolutionomics. It bridges income inequality unlike anything ever imagined. It’s principal object is to rebuild the middle class. And it contains all four stories PLUS two others:

    A new story of discretionary income
    A new moral fairness

    Our proof-of-concept arrives in 2017 and will revolutionize the thriving $700 billion US trucking industry.

  • Rory Short

    “Finally, economics has painted itself as a detached amoral science, but humans are moral creatures.”

    The basis of economics is money and under the current money system money has absolutely zero moral colour. Money’s morality arises from the holder history of a unit of currency. Was it held by a drug dealer, an arms trader, a destroyer of the environment etc., etc. It is currently impossible to tell from the unit itself. If you could get this information as natural part of receiving a proffered payment then you could refuse the payment if you did not approve of the activities of the previous holders of a unit of currency. Moral choice could be exercised right at the bottom of the economy.

    If currency was completely digitised the holder history of units of currency could easily be recorded and viewed.

    • Red Wine Please

      Simplistic. Opens a can of worms you can’t put back.

      How would you distinguish the morality of drugs exchanged for money at CVS with drugs exchanged on the street corner from John to Jake?

      The first exchange is under the color of authority: a company legally approved to dispense drugs. But the authority— prescription, could be invalid and hence immoral/illegal. If that one transaction is later discovered to be immoral/illegal, would that means ALL exchanges at CVS in the future should be stamped as from an immoral company?

      The second drug transaction is a simple gift of money from John to Jake. Illegal transactions would not be “stamped” immoral by either party. Each has moral reasons to not stamp it immoral/illegal. Therefore, the downstream exchanges would be seen as moral. That’s money laundering in your system like now.

      That’s why the govt keeps an eye on any bank deposit of $10,000 or more. You can’t rely upon the transactors to give it a negative money “color”.

      • Rory Short

        The start of money having a moral colour has to be the identification of its holders. The kind of use that is made of this information will evolve but it simply cannot evolve if the information is not recorded as is the case right now.

  • Tuấn Văn Nguyễn

    Aye, it’s time to move to the Doughnut, the just and safe place where we all belong by birthright 🙂
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BHOflzxPjI

  • GaryReber

    America has tried the Republican “cut spending, cut taxes, and cut ‘entitlements,’ eliminate government dependency and shift to private individual responsibility” and the Democratics “protect ‘entitlements,’ provide tax-payer supported stimulus, lower middle and working class taxes, tax the rich and redistribute” through government brands of economic policy, as well as a mixture of both. Republican ideology aims to revive hard-nosed laissez-faire appeals to hard-core conservatives but ignores the relevancy of healing the economy and halting the steady disintegration of the middle class and working poor.

    Some conservative thinkers have acknowledged the damaging results of a laissez-faire ideology, which furthers the concentration of productive capital ownership. They are floundering in search of alternative thinking as they acknowledge the negative economic and social realities resulting from greed capitalism. This acknowledgment encompasses the realization that the troubling economic and social trends (global capitalism, free-trade doctrine, tectonic shifts in the technologies of production and the steady off-loading of American manufacturing and jobs) caused by continued concentrated ownership of productive capital will threaten the stability of contemporary liberal democracies and dethrone democratic ideology as it is now understood.

    Without a policy shift to broaden productive capital ownership simultaneously with economic growth, further development of technology and globalization will undermine the American middle class and make it impossible for more than a minority of citizens to achieve middle-class status.

  • doncastro

    “That is why we need new economic thinking.”
    Nonsense. “Economic thinking”, new or old, is neither the problem or the solution. Capitalism and democracy have both been corrupted by oligarchies that ignore “economic thinking” altogether while imposing an economic/political/geopolitical agenda, masquerading as ideology, that concentrates more wealth and power at the top while denying or restricting access to the drivers of wealth and power to everyone else.

  • This post pretends to say everything, while actually saying almost nothing. We need an economics based in health, not wealth. Today’s economic theories are based on theories of selfish individuals, without any respect for, consideration, or understanding of community. Health comes from healthy communities, from healthy competition and healthy cooperation, at all levels of community, from families and tribes to governments at all levels, labour organizations​ at all levels, and corporations of all sizes.

    The model of total competition, of the individual, or government party, or religion, or corporation, ignored the fact that health comes from a balance of competition and cooperation, which is best served by freedom and freedom of information.

    Today’s economic theories abhor freedom, because many freedoms, most specifically freedoms to cooperate, deter unecessary growth. As a result, out current economies thrive on and even fail in the absence of unecessary growth. Try to buy a non-fluoride toothpaste at your local drugstore. You will find dozens of ‘flavours’, but no choices. That’s the freedom provided by our current model. Anyone who attempts to provide a non-fluoride toothpaste is not cooperated with, they are competed out of business, deliberately restricting our freedoms.
    To your health, Tracy
    Founder: Healthicine

  • Miguel Ângelo

    O capitalismo é uma ideologia e é a face mais sinistra de uma sociedade humana que se queria desenvolvida de forma a proporcionar bem estar a todos. A realidade é por demais conhecida para se tratar com eufemismo e ligeireza, os neo liberais não são mais que um “upgrade” dos velhos senhores feudais tornados capitalistas pela evolução dos burgos e pela revolução industrial. A única reforma possível para este sistema putrefacto é terminar com ele antes que ele nos extinga.