299. Goverenance and economy
January 15, 2010 § 1 Comment
Economy has become so powerful because, in the absence of the political ideas to reform government to deal with the real issues of the world, economy emerges as a way to cope with 6 billion people. Not a good way, because the costs to many are so high, but a way nevertheless. Economy has become a form of governance. The result is a way of life based on dollars and what dollars can buy, which is not so much meaningful goods but stuff. And even then we blame consumption on ordinary people when in fact their car, computer and cell phone are not discretionary, but essential for work and getting children to school.
In this process what government we do have has been an instrument of the economy and not the other way around. Economics has reduced itself from the broad reach of discipline of political economy to a paltry economic specialty of the mathematics of flow between things, but does not include the things themselves. One might expect economics to describe how we get from the real wealth of nature to the real wealth of civilization, but it does not. Economics does not speak meaningfully if at all about resources, ownership, invention , distribution, nor the resulting wealth and quality of life.
The result is that we do not really have a governance of society. We have a governance of the society via economy and a governance of economics through the narrow interests of its major participants. Hence the real needs of society are not taken as the task of government. The well being of the people has been replaced by the well being of the economy, which, to make the rich yet richer, has chosen to eliminate people as a cost to the economic engine. Society is left without governance. This can be seen in the inability to respond to climate, population, oceans, poverty, nor education. It can be seen in the Haitian crisis where government has not taken on the task (at local or world level) of providing the infrastructure to respond to crises, either immediate like an earthquake or hurricane, nor long term as in decline of the environment, or the erosion of the quality of life for a majority of the world’s people.
This brings to mind "When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another ….
In fact since it is clear that government cannot respond, we are left on our own to rethink the basic arrangements necessary for a governance of society beyond the narrow needs of an anti-social economy..