The multiple crises affecting the global society prompt people to question the reasons-and find these reasons in the deadly design of the economic system. In fact, I have read three books on imagining an economy without growth.
It was this conclusion about capitalism that prompted me to return to university to study economics three years ago, so I was very encouraged by this development.
In three books After growing up Tim Jackson is easily the best. There are almost as many poems as prose, and it is provided in the form of a series of vignettes and allegories, giving us insight into what is wrong with the way our economy operates and what we can do to change it.
We have provided us with a fascinating lineup of characters, including Carl Sagan and Lynn Margulis, Hannah Arendt, Wangari Maathi, John Stuart Mill and his wife Harriet, who were in power in the American scientific community in the 1960s. As they said, there are many more.
Jackson illustrates the power of the story by describing how the “Law of the Jungle” became the decisive myth of globalized capitalism when 19th-century economists projected their own selfish and competitive motives into an innocent natural world.
He quoted the historian Theodore Roszak: “Far from interpreting the spirit of the jungle as a civilized society, Darwin interprets the spirit of industrial capitalism as a jungle. He concluded that all Life must be what the early mill towns looked like: the evil’fight for survival’.”
Under Darwin’s leadership, economists followed closely, and the Darwinians also admitted to being led by Thomas Malthus, the most frustrating of all economists, to his insights on evolution.
Far from the war zone imagined by philosophers in the 19th century, fair observation of nature shows the cooperative and symbiotic relationship between species described by ecologists, and is sought after by economists.
Among the many roles shared with the genius Jackson, the intricate work of the German philosopher Hannah Arendt may best show our plight.
Jackson’s summary of the wisdom provided by why work is so important to happiness and how its variant forms in the capitalist economy is the root cause of our suffering is a crucial insight, and her equally valuable understanding of how we fear Balancing death has been distorted by the connection between consumers and advertising into an endless but ultimately unsatisfactory pursuit of novelty and excess.
Jackson explained that raising questions about economic motives and consequences is not a new pursuit.
Since the birth of capitalism, industrial organization and labor exploitation have caused damage to our environment and lives.
Although the strong continue to profit, the suffering people do not always get enough information or organize to resist.
It has always been political to hinder the rational transformation of our economy in order to maximize happiness without destroying our life support system.
Jackson described a meeting at the Treasury Department shortly after the publication of his book Prosperity without growth: “I elaborated the argument as carefully as possible. The limits of decoupling. The paradox of happiness. The foundation of an economy of care and creativity.
“This special adviser looked attentively, and finally only solemnly asked me one question. Knowing that Britain’s GDP has fallen in the world rankings, what would it be like for officials from the Ministry of Finance to attend the G7 meeting?
Fortunately, not all countries are so obsessed with scale rather than substance. New Zealand is now measuring its economic success by its well-being.
The welfare bill initiated by Lord Bird ranks among the top private membership bills in the House of Lords. Knowledge is spreading, and the economic system maintained by those who control money and power is being challenged.
This book feels more like philosophy than economics, so I hope it will find a wide range of readers among those who do not consider reading books in my own field of research. But there is also a limitation here.
It must be understood that the design of the economy is destructive, and we must find solutions to the climate and ecological crises there, but we also need to invest in understanding the complex details required to make the necessary readjustments. pipeline.
As the French economist Esther Duflo said, economists are like plumbers. They not only need to repair non-working systems, but they also need to design and install improved and updated systems.
Therefore, if you read this book and are inspired by its elegant theories of change-especially when you are about to start working-can I suggest that you commit to finance, trade, exchange rates and soon?
Because the world urgently needs more economists who understand pipelines and have a vision for a sustainable future.
Molly Scott Cato (Molly Scott Cato) was formerly a member of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Southwest England and Gibraltar, and a professor of economics.