Free trade smackdown from Australian economist

31 03 2010

From ABC unleashed:

The last hundred years of global history have been characterised by a number of eternal truths that were supposed to last forever (or at least for a very long time).

These included the 3rd Reich, Communism, the world dominance of the USSR and the USA, Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Free-Market Economics. None of these influences are still with us. Undoubtedly remnants of neoclassical economics will hang around for a while.

Continued here.


Ecology lessons from traditional cultures

15 10 2009

While the term “racist” is a little too loosely thrown about, Ariel Salleh, a sociologist from the University of Sydney, makes the case for a far more radical sustainability discussion to the one that dominates the mass media right now.  Click the link to stream the audio from Radio National.

Is our sustainability science racist?

New economics

8 04 2009


Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “New economics“, posted with vodpod

SAVE (us from) CAPITALISM !!

14 11 2008

Did you ever think you’d see a headline like this one at the Age:

Bring on the revolution.

Questioning “Growthism” goes mainstream

7 05 2008

Economics writer Ross Gittins discusses the arguments against a narrow focus on GDP growth as a marker of progress in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

Drawing mainly upon comments from unorthodox economist Clive Hamilton, the article goes on to quote the current leaders of Australia’s and the UK’s conservative parties, who appear to have some sympathy for such a position (although Brendan Nelson’s sentiments have likely changed with time).

We’ve come a long way.  Can the mania for growth be reigned in?

When growth turns into a monster

Ross Gittins

The one thing people like me aren’t allowed to do is question economic growth. To almost all economists, business people and politicians, the need to maximise the growth of the economy is a self-evident truth.

Read the rest here.




Economic contraction without unemployment?

6 04 2008

Mainstream approaches to global environmental crises tend to suggest that we can have our cake and eat it too.  That is, we can continue to “grow” economic activity while saving the planet.  For some time, advocates of this approach have suggested that we “de-link” economic growth and increased carbon emissions. Nobody knows if this is possible.  Certainly there are no examples of countries maintaining economic growth without increased material consumption or carbon emissions.  What if this approach is misguided?Could it be that endless increases in human consumption and population are not compatible with maintaining the Earth’s basic ecological functions.

Fortunately, there are fringe groups of academics exploring models of decreased consumption that might not lead to joblessness and poverty.  The European Society of Ecological Economics is hosting the first international  “De-growth conference”. Check it out here.

Culture over Commerce

22 02 2008

I was struck by the powerful message of Jeremy Rifkin while watching extra material on “the Corporation” DVD.

Here’s a nice slice:

What is culture? It’s all the activities you and I engage in that are not commercial and not government. Church, secular, fraternal, sports, arts, civic. It’s where we have deep play. It’s where we have reciprocal relationships. It’s where we explore our humanity. It’s where we revel in each other for the sheer joy of being a human being, and where we explore our relationship to our fellow creatures in the earth we live in. Culture is where we explore deep play. And create intrinsic value. The human story.

Commerce is where we create deep work and utility. In the real world, we live by deep play and deep work. We live by intrinsic and utility values.

The key question is which comes first? The community or the corporation and commerce? What I would argue, and it’s common sense, is that communities precede commerce, and therefore corporations are not the central organising principle of
our life, but they’re an augment. And should only be an essential augment but not sufficient to define who we are.

So, what we need to do is bring back the culture. The problem is that civil society, the culture, the community, has been marginalized and colonised by either corporations or governments. In fact, we call the culture “the third sector” in public policy. As if commerce is the first sector,
government’s the second sector, and then where we live our lives and create our stories is the third sector. And think of the language we use. This is a total colonialised institution. In Canada and Europe, you call organisations in the civil society “non-governmental organizations”. Meaning, not government, but dependant on. Totally colonised. In the U.S., we call these organisations in the culture “non-profit”. Not corporate, but dependant on the commercial arena.

We need to decolonise the civil society, re-embolden it, bring back cultural diversity, understand that the human story is the center of our identity. Then, we can put the corporation in its proper role. We can put the market and the networks in their proper role. Their role is to create utility. But utility is not the end of human existence, it’s simply an augment to human culture. And if we can begin to reestablish culture as the center where people’s power is, then there’s a role for corporations. And there’s a role for government. But those roles are to be attended to, not dominant over the place where people have their story told and where they live out their community values.