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OK, drop what you're doing (if you possibly can) and look at this Metafilter thread. The referenced article is just stunning. It gives voice to the fears I've always had about that vague notion of The Economy, and what it really means to humans, but could not express myself for lack of education.

If anyone has solid contrary arguments, I would be very happy to hear them indeed. This seems so solid to me, but I am no economist, so perhaps I'm missing something?


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 12th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
I'm midway through both the article and the metafilter replies. As always, I don't feel competent enough about economics to know whether his article makes economic sense. I agree with it philosophically, though...
Aug. 12th, 2008 07:58 pm (UTC)
there's been a growing movement among some economists to move to alternative measures -- see the "National income and welfare" section here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measures_of_national_income_and_output

there's a gap here between what folks in the field of economics having been saying to each other (increasingly talking about alternative measures of welfare, relationship of economics to the environment, fundamental irrationality of human behaviour, etc.) and the base level of public discourse on the economy, which is still stuck in a very simplistic invisible hand, markets always good, GDP-is-all mentality. some of that is because of ideology (see: republicans), but i think a lot of it is laziness.

good news is a lot of recent books and articles and conversations seem to be moving in better directions ...
Aug. 12th, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
I'm not going to make it through this - there is a grain of good thought in there, but it's too charged with inflamatory judgment riddled terminology to be taken too seriously. I'm actually knee deep in a series of thoughts about how we count dollars and what exactly that means, how important an interest rate really is, and why with more technology we seem to work even more to buy things that didn't exist 50 years ago.

I'm full of tidbits about interest-based economics though, trying to align the good of society to people's selfish impulses. I'm romantic (read stupid) enough to wish we could just inspire people to be socially responsible.
Aug. 12th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
Phenomenal. Thank you for pointing this out! Great article!
Aug. 12th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
Interesting article and thread.

I guess I would compare the GDP thing to gravity. We've made some observations and we've come up with a model. It's not perfect but it's much more useful than the nothing we had before. Maybe we'll be lucky and the Newton of Economics will show up with a better model soon, one that helps explain some of the discrepancies that show our current understanding as flawed. It seems reasonably likely since economics is so hip right now.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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