Why You Should Blame The Economics Discipline For Today’s Problems

The people responsible for national economic policy are economics professors

Everything in the article is true enough, and still manages to miss the most salient point of our time.

What Dick Burkhart writes is also true, Keen and Beinhocker are both worth looking at, I have a copy of Steve’s Minsky on this laptop, and many of Eric’s articles – which I have read.

And still, both of them fail to grasp what is driving us into severe risk territory.

Exponential growth in automation is the key.

It is what make blackdogsailing’s comments on standards of living false.
It is not the standard of living that is the problem, it is the technologies we employ to deliver that standard of living that give us the issues we have.

Exponential technologies allow us to double productivity every year, but that is too fast for the needs of capital, so to slow that down in practice we have a vast array of legal and financial mechanisms that slow progress and increase profits for the major holders of capital. Economically, it is much more profitable to keep existing profitable polluting technologies than to invest in newer cleaner technologies – at some level. This is a profound “drag” on development.

Barriers to entry have always been common, and usually disguised either as “standards” sold as some form of “health and safety” or “education” issue, or as some form of “Intellectual Property” (IP) laws. They have been with us for many centuries, and they are proliferating at present.

We could, relatively simply in the engineering sense, develop automated technologies to deliver a high standard of living to every person on the planet, and at the same time reduce the environmental and ecological “footprint” of humanity substantially, yet by the definition of the incentive structures in our scarcity based market system of valuation, there cannot be any profit in doing so.

Thus the abstract notion of value (money) that served us so well in times when the majority of goods and services really were genuinely scarce, now becomes the greatest threat to the potential of abundance for all in an age where automation really can deliver such a thing, but by definition, doing so reduces the exchange value (market value, money value) of all such goods and services to zero.

Automation, and the abundance it can deliver, are now directly in conflict with money as a concept.
Human needs are the current casualty.
Exponentially increasing existential risk is the outcome, as injustice radicalises increasing numbers of individuals.

And I acknowledge the very many levels of information processing that economic systems do that both von Hayek and Friedman and others have identified; and alternatives are not technically difficult to develop.
Stable transition is the issue.
Awareness at many different levels is required.
The greater the levels of awareness, the lower the levels of risk.

It does seem entirely possible that this may be one of the “great filters” that is why we are not surrounded by hordes of sight seeing aliens.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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1 Response to Economics

  1. Pingback: Today’s problems continued | Ted Howard NZ's Blog

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