Friday, March 09, 2007

The New Economics

Looking up economics in Wikipedia can bring you hours of reading pleasure. Explore micro and macro economics. Delve into the division between the mainstream theories, and Marxist thinking. It's a vast and, frankly, overwhelming area of study.

And in the end, it appears there are almost as many economic theories as there are economists. Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, we'll explore the new economics arising out of Dr. Norberto Keppe's beautiful work in Analytical Trilogy, his comprehensive work that unites philosophy, theology and science to give us a new perspective on the human being and his society.

Someone, I'm not sure who, once said that if you lined up all the economists in the world, they'd all point in different directions. Maybe this was more prophetic than he or she intended. Truman pined for a one-armed economist that, as a result, could never say ... "on the other hand ..."

Economics drives our world in obvious ways through its influence on every aspect of human society. From sweating the family budget to the sophisticated polling and research of lobbyists and think tank academics, there's no area of daily life that's not impacted by it.

But arguably, there is no area where we have been influenced more by the thinking of other people's head than in this one. And some of the theories that have been thrust upon us from these heads have caused us a lot of personal and collective grief.

It's time for a new perspective on economics. And that's happening at the International Society of Analytical Trilogy in São Paulo, Brazil.

Today we'll talk with the vice president of that dynamic and important organization, psychoanalyst, Dr. Claudia Pacheco.

Click here to download this episode.
Click here to read more about Trilogical business.
Click here to learn more about Podcasts.



jc said...

In this podcast it is claimed that the middle class pays the majority of income tax. This is simply not true. IRS data shows that the top 5% of wage earners pay 54% of income tax. The tope 10% pay 65% of income tax. The top 50% pay 96% of income tax.

If you want to get rid of lobbyists then you must get rid of a government which is allowed to give handouts to special interests. For example in the USA the farming industry is heavily subsidized by the government. Huge amounts of money go to support this farming which accounts for a very small part of the population. But they have a strong lobby group so they get subsidies. Lobbyists exist so they can get a piece of the pie. Government should not give subsidies to business. If we eliminate subsidies then there will be no reason for business lobbies to exist.

Richard Lloyd Jones said...

Thanks for the correction, JC. This part of the podcast was meant to critique the fact that the so-called First World is not producing anything anymore, and this tremendous addiction to speculation that drives this is very, very dangerous for all of us.

I agree with your point about lobbyists. But the deeper point is that governments should work for the people - all the people - not just the select few at the top. There is a deeper problem with the pathology of power than just eliminating lobbyists, although I agree that lobbying is a form of manipulation.

We need a return to ideals in public service, don't you think, rather than a total money/profit focus.


jc said...

I am not exactly sure what you mean by making government work for the people. I generally believe that government ought to stay out of the way of people. I think that government tends to punish[with taxes and regulation] the acheivers of our society and thereby harming the rest of us. I think that people ought to work for themselves and not be enslaved to working for the good of others.
I think we can agree that lobbying is not a good thing. I have been following some of your podcasts recently and have a hard time understanding where you are coming from. Even here you say that "We need a return to ideals in public service, don't you think, rather than a total money/profit focus" but I am not sure what you mean by that. What are the ideals in public service? If business do not make profits how are they sustainable?

Richard Lloyd Jones said...

Hey JC,

I mean ... government should be concerned with what is necessary for the people who elected them. I know we´re a long way from that, but it is the essential ideal of democracy, so I just stress it here again. Government today, almost everywhere, is controlled by the rich powerful sector of society, and the vast majority of the people are being left in the dust. Ideals are something related to goodness, and have been held by all the greatest human beingsn in history - whether it´s the desire to show beauty (artists) or the desire to free the human being from slavery and injustice. Government and politicians should be concerned with the highest ideals possible.

Also, the problem with people working for themselves lies in human psychopathology, which drives us to hurt and ignore our fellow man. The naive idea that we can work solely for ourselves and have everything work out for the best is the same naivety that Adam Smith showed. An understanding of how the human psyche operates is essential in this area, and that´s what we´re trying to do in this podcast.

Further, of course business needs to make profit. But this is not the purpose of business. Profit is like oxygen; it´s necessary for life, but life is about more than breathing, don´t you think? The point we are trying to make here is that placing profit as the sole reason for existence of a business is sadly misguided, not to mention totally destructive. There are many aspects of being human that are much more important than profit. Plus, on a purely practical basis, if we continue doing anything we want for profit, we won´t have any world left to support us, so even profit will be lost. It makes business sense (and economic sense) to raise the bar a little beyond this selfishness and preoccupation with money so we can live a more purposeful, beautiful, valuable life.

What do you think?