It goes back to the old Invisible Hand theory. Adam Smith claimed that competition in the marketplace would force producers to produce only what people want (so they can sell it). They would also produce at the lowest possible cost without undue profit to keep prices down (so competitors can’t steal their customers). These are… Continue reading Cooperation Through Competition?
Here’s the root problem with economics. To see the problem, you have to drill down to the very first assumpton it makes — at the very bottom of the pile — upon which the whole edifice is built. Let me pose it as a question. How shall we live? Shall we live a life of… Continue reading The Depravity of Economics
The economy works relentlessly to ensure that nobody pursues a meaningful life. The central mission of a capitalist market economy is to persuade each and every one of us to suck in as much material pleasure (called “utility”) as we possibly can — and to serve others in the process as little as we possibly… Continue reading A Vertically-Radical Manifesto
What if we all decided to follow the advice of just about every spiritual tradition, as well as some secular humanist traditions? What if we all agreed to live frugally, acquiring only what we need to live a life of meaning and service to humanity? All hell would break loose. Capitalism would implode. A capitalist… Continue reading Frugal Living is Counter-Cultural
I’ve written about freedom before, where I began by presenting some ideas from William Cavanaugh’s book Being Consumed, in a post called Economics and Freedom. Then later I threw my own quirky economic ideas into the mix with another post called Fake Freedom. But now I’m tackling a formidable French author, Jacques Ellul, on the… Continue reading Radical Freedom
It’s pretty unclear nowadays what’s capitalist, what’s socialist, what’s radical and what’s not. Actually it’s easy at the extremes. Pure capitalism (market does everything) pure socialism (government does everything) — they’re both too radical for most people. Except for some fringe libertarians, most reasonable people are seeking some position in between radical capitalism and radical… Continue reading Radical, Really?
Yep. But first … You don’t have to be an Economics student to get the message. It’s natural to want more. You can’t fight human nature. We’re acquisitive animals. It’s in or deepest nature to satisfy ourselves to the fullest extent possible. Economists say we’re insatiable. That doesn’t mean I’ll eat chocolate until I get… Continue reading Abundance, Really?
I refer to that period of history, and that movement called The Enlightenment. It happened around the 18th Century. The Catholic church was at a low point at the time, wielding excessive power with excessive rigidity. The rising Protestant churches were still feeling out their protest ideology. Major thinkers were looking for escape from the… Continue reading Unenlightened and Proud
First we need to sort them out — GDP vs GNP. Many economists don’t even know. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) really means domestic — stuff produced at home, whether by local people or by foreigners operating here. Gross National Product (GNP) is stuff produced by local people anywhere in the world. Generally we cite GDP… Continue reading How Gross is GDP?
Were getting into some pretty idealistic territory here, but let’s play with it a while. It’ll reveal a few interesting relationships. The Curate of my parish put me onto a book called “The Curate’s Awakening” by George MacDonald. Somehow this fictional Curate is in heaven, and Chapter 25 takes place in an ordinary shop up… Continue reading Shops in Heaven?