To what extent are economics and peace linked?
Economics is an interesting term.
In the Greek it started out meaning management of the household.
Today it has come to mean management of money.
Throughout most of human history production required human labour. Many societies gave their citizens freedom by using slave labour to do the work.
Until very recently, most people had to work to support themselves and their families. During the industrial revolution it was normal for people to work 16 hours a day 6 days a week (96 hours a week) to get enough money to buy food, clothing and lodgings. Slowly that reduced. In most countries people on wages expect to work 35 to 40 hours a week.
The reduction in the time spent working has been largely a result of mechanisation.
Machines, powered initially by water, then by coal, then by a vast array of energy sources (coal, oil, gas, hydro, geothermal, solar PV, solar thermal, wave, tidal, wind, biofuels).
Now we are in an age where we can automate any process, if we think the process is worth automating.
That level of automation is making most labour redundant.
Machines can now manage far more efficiently than most managers.
Machines can now drive more safely than most drivers.
Very few people now possess skill sets that have any significant value to the system.
The system of free markets (actually any sort of markets) is very close to becoming completely redundant.
We are rapidly approaching the point where machines will be able to deliver whatever goods and services we need.
The idea of any need for exchange, for markets, for tokens (money) is very nearly past its use by date.
For thousands of years, each new generation has increased its capacities because of the increased power they have from the increases in knowledge and technology developed by the previous generation.
We are in the generation where the technology will make all human labour redundant.
None of us need to work to “earn a living”.
The ideas that have worked for our ancestors for thousands of generations are suddenly redundant, due to exponential developments in technology.
We have the capacity to deliver abundance of all essentials to every human being, yet the idea of money, markets and capital, are incapable of delivering that abundance.
So the modern idea of economics – being a system of laws and markets, has become a serious liability to the survival and liberty of us all.
There is nothing wrong with people exchanging goods and services.
There is nothing wrong with people giving away goods and services.
There is a possibility of everyone doing whatever they responsibly choose (not open licence to follow every whim, but choices made with the likely impacts of consequences on others and the environment clearly in mind).
So to me, economics (as currently practised) is actually a major threat to peace.
The market based system is breaking down, due to the productive power of technology.
The injustice that must result from the continued use of market based systems is a threat to us all.
So yes – if we desire peace, we must be willing to go beyond markets and economics.
We have the option of universal abundance, and there is no stable market mechanism to get there.
The meta incentives of markets are always to destroy abundance to produce a marketable scarcity.
It is clear to me that economics (in the modern sense of market based monetary systems) and peace are not compatible.