Limitations of the Current Economic Paradigm
Limitations of the Marketplace
The marketplace, as currently practised, is not proactive and does not lead, but always lags well behind the cutting edge, which is continuously moving ahead of emerging problems, as well revealed in this book. This lag creates crises, because what has become urgently needed, is not being considered, let alone provided. The current energy crisis, water crisis, greenhouse crisis, oil crisis, shortage of skilled workers and the failed medical system and other arising problems all demonstrate this. The marketplace cannot get a carbon trading scheme up without much wrenching and manipulating, which demonstrates that the marketplace does not work naturally, and only works within contrived structures having very limited parameters in an obsolete, mechanistic paradigm. It completely ignores and stomps all over everything that is truly precious to living well on a thriving planet.
The marketplace does not value household work, or raising children, which are now regarded as a cost, not an asset, and a financial burden. It does not price or value natural resources, nor cost their depletion and destruction, nor pollution, which has now gotten well out of hand and is still increasing. It ignores the deleterious consequences of its own actions, and continues to create massive problems.
It does not cost or value the voluntary social work that was so necessary to the social upliftment in the 1960s, which many found to be personally transforming as well. It has now become urgently needed to redress serious societal imbalances, but the system is now preventing that from happening. In the 1960s, many people took time off work unpaid, to be part of the transformation, without even knowing about the dole. No one could afford to do that today. In the 1970s, when unemployment rose dramatically, almost the entire community movement in Australia was funded by the dole as a stipend and people using their labour to compensate for lack of funds. They broke the ground the world is sorely needing today, creating templates for those who are still contributing to the problem, and are yet to wake up, and will be completely lost when they do. The unemployed are prevented from doing that today.
People today have been miseducated away from naturally arising social concerns, through reorientation towards competitiveness and personal concern, with obvious results. The entire range of social problems have arisen through the successful elimination of a thriving between-the-lines, between-the-cracks, caring and uplifting and social reality. Even strangers were nice to be around.
Marketplaces as currently practiced, are unable to embrace forward-looking solutions, but instead dissuade companies and countries from taking a fresh, forward-looking approach that would benefit society by addressing and solving the rapidly increasing problems. The marketplace-only, short-term, single-bottom-line approach has now created serious and worsening social and ecological deterioration on a global scale, and economic destitution for billions of people.
Controlled by Corporations
Many helpful innovations and technologies, including sustainable technologies and renewable energies, have already been developed, and are designed to deal with many of the problems. Many of these innovations and inventions have been bought up and shelved instead of being embraced, as was commonly known as far back as the 1960s, to increase oil usage. They are continued today because they threaten existing, entrenched, unsustainable technologies, maintained by corporations who are locked into the past, do not want to change, and regard re-tooling as too difficult and expensive. Their problem is they are committed to an obsolete paradigm, and are unwilling or unable to adapt to today’s real need. One of the great problems with corporations is that many of their products are no longer what we need. They are not in a good position, in the present setup, to discern our real needs and then move towards fulfilling them. Instead of this, many Corporations today dictate terms to Governments, and have long pressurised them into ignoring pollution, resource depletion, environmental destruction as well as renewable technologies that would help deal with these problems.
Antiquated, Obsolete Paradigm
We practise an economic paradigm that arose during the early days of the industrial revolution, long before we knew about social cohesion, or understood what fulfils human needs, or appreciated the importance of nature and ecological wellbeing. It has not been upgraded in the light of greater understanding, as it unfolds over time.
No Goals for Social Improvement or a Better World
It has no goal of a better society, a peaceful, sustainable planet, or anything else for people to aspire. It does not offer personal fulfilment, but only material goods in a world already overstuffed with material goods, as it destroys the ecological base upon which all humans biologically depend for survival. It does not inspire or reassure people.
Driven by Greed
It is driven only by inducing a desire for individual affluence, and accordingly trains people to become selfish and greedy, and then pits people against each other and obliges them to act competitively and selfishly in order to succeed. This creates dysfunctional people, and a dysfunctional society.
It destroys and wastes many times more raw material than it uses, creating excessive waste and toxins, poisoning the planet. It is a prolific waster of fresh water causing serious shortages. It does not clean up the mess it creates, has no solutions to the any of the worsening intractable problems it has created, and is not seriously looking for solutions.
It is excessively predatory of the entire natural world, which it has severely degraded and continues to destroy without restraint, and upon which it depends for its wealth and survival. Serious and increasing problems caused by the system in the past two decades include global warming, climate change, ozone depletion, resource depletion, ecological destruction, atmospheric and water pollution, running down fish stocks, forestry destruction, salination and desertification of land. And the destruction is accelerating.
Locked into Past
It has locked the world into the past, and has brought western civilisation to the point where no part of it works well anymore, and as a whole, is now highly dysfunctional. It has no vision of the future except for looming ecological and medical disasters, which will cause massive economic disasters in their wake.
US and World Economies Imploding
At the turn of the millennium, the US had an unprecedented credit balance, created from high production, driven by the high-tech boom. Many subsequent changes destroyed the balance, resilience and robustness of the economy, without assisting the bottom 60% of the population. The once healthy US economy has gone through extreme debt, while its apparent growth was being carried on the backs of its own credit-card holding population, tens of millions of whom went into extreme debt to help keep the US economy afloat. The US economy was also artificially stimulated in an unbalanced way by an extreme, sub-prime housing bubble, which has now collapsed. The derivative market, a variation on what caused the 1929 crash, and far larger than the sub-prime fiasco, has also collapsed. Mass credit card default is now looming. Even greater than these are certain colossal financial scams that are currently unravelling, after being made apparent through new, fail-safe software. The recent bailout and Govt part ownership of banks has not addressed the problem of mortgage default, housing price collapse and consequential problems.
As a result of re-embracing outmoded practices, we now live in a world that suffers ever increasing social deterioration and ecological destruction, unprecedented personal and family indebtedness, and widespread impoverishment of the lower socio-economic strata, as well as an aging and decreasing populations in the more “successful” industrialised nation states. Stagflation, the reason given for the return to marketplace capitalism, has now returned with many other extremely serious problems accompanying it.
A New Paradigm
The old paradigm is well past its use-by date, and needs to be exchanged for a natural economic paradigm based on abundance rather than scarcity, that can enable us to become the kind of society we would like to live in, and to create the kind of planet we would like to live on. It should definitely take into account what we have learned about life, nature and human nature, especially since WW2. People-friendly, eco-friendly, orientated towards abundance, sustainability, eco-preservation and renewal. When it is delivered, it promises to be much simpler, elegant, functional, effective, nature-compatible and friendly, than the increasingly unwieldy system we have now.
Sustainable communities are the demonstrable cutting-edge of practices incorporating some of the new paradigm that mainstream society will, before very long, be forced by circumstances to embrace. They are a template to a benign future for us all.