Can We Have A Humane Economic System?

 I was reading an interesting article in The Nation this morning that discussed how wrong economists, especially highlighting Paul Krugman, were about globalization and how while it is obvious to most "people" that the politics of global trade economics were disastrously wrong (except for the 1%), somehow economists and politicians, including current world leaders don't seem to get it - and won't discuss their utter failure.
After I found myself fairly impressed with the article, I read the comments that followed and was equally impressed by a general consensus that while I was firmly in the intelligent observer camp, I was also helplessly naive about economic history and the general uselessness of (probably) all experts in that field.
Also interesting was the idea that "you can't go back".
This is something that I have no problem accepting in so many areas of life but have never really considered as an unalterable, universal principle - though now I am beginning to consider it might be that way.
Once the factors in an equation have changed, the equation must also change; you can't just go back to what seemed to work before and expect it to work again when things are different.
Pandora's box, as it were, has been opened and all that came out is not going to get stuffed back in no matter how much we want it or how hard we try or how much we pay, pray or envision.
While I do have some specific ideas about Global Trade and Capitalism, which are primarily that we should eviscerate them and return to local production and local consumption, taking the immoral, ill gotten gains of opportunistic capitalism and returning it to the victims of "voodoo economics", put basic services in the hands of "the people", and make the Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness a reality for all people instead of just a privileged and corrupt few, I am not planning on going into great detail about that right now.
I do think that considering this article is a good thing, but hope we can recognise that neither the problem nor the solution are an either/or, black/white kind of thing.
Recognising that you have a problem is always the first step to resolving it.
We should recognize that we do have a tremendous problem that is likely to explode in our faces in an astronomical manner.
The solution?
Well, we know we can't just tap the "way-back machine" for that, but we do have to adjust our view and actions to those that retard excess and embrace equality and a restoration of the liberties, freedoms and opportunities that offer a life of opportunity and dignity that includes the prospect of everyone enjoying the expectation that they are free and able to pursue and achieve happiness.
I also recommend the accompanying 10 min. video.
Here is the article.

Here are a couple of the comments that caught my attention.
The sad reality is that "experts", all of them, every one, totally suck at making accurate predictions. Krugman is not special that way at all.

Read Future Babble by Dan Gardner for good evidence of this thesis.

"In 2008, as the price of oil surged above $140 a barrel, experts said it would soon hit $200; a few months later it plunged to $30. In 1967, they said the USSR would have one of the fastest-growing economies in the year 2000; in 2000, the USSR did not exist. In 1911, it was pronounced that there would be no more wars in Europe; we all know how that turned out. Face it, experts are about as accurate as dart-throwing monkeys. And yet every day we ask them to predict the future — everything from the weather to the likelihood of a catastrophic terrorist attack. Future Babble is the first book to examine this phenomenon, showing why our brains yearn for certainty about the future, why we are attracted to those who predict it confidently, and why it's so easy for us to ignore the trail of outrageously wrong forecasts."

Greider steps back into the past and lives there. The refurbishing of American industry is not going to happen to any great extent, the game of the planned industrial economy as Germany has used is over because economic growth is over. In fact using real inflation rates the US hasn't grown since 2000.

Growth is over because the "powers that be" in the US, the EU and Japan have decided to save the oligarchs with zombie economies rather than write off unpayable debt. This has worked well for the 1% as their wealth and income since 2009 has soared. Not so good for the rest of us consumers.

Growth is over because the world has reached peak energy, (especially oil,) water, soil and the ability of the earth to provide ever increasing commodities while trying to absorb ever increasing amounts of pollution. The price of fuel and climate change are soon going to starve many in the less wealthy countries.

Greider needs to get up to speed on the realities of the 21st century before he starts recommending any sort of economic plans to be adopted. Greider still thinks the growth party will make a roaring comeback while debt gets piled ever higher, climate change gets even nastier and oil gets ever more expensive and harder to find ...
And here is the video.

In this RSA Animate, celebrated academic David Harvey looks beyond capitalism towards a new social order. Can we find a more responsible, just, and humane economic system?

This RSA Animate was taken from a lecture given as part of the RSA's free public lecture programme. The RSA is a 258 year-old charity devoted to driving social progress and spreading world-changing ideas. For more information, visit http://www.thersa.org

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