Saturday, 10 March 2012
My conclusion, at the time, was that the whole paradigm was unworkable, even if it were accurate. So, I “forgot” about it.
Over the last couple of years, however, I’ve been watching the global economy become so complicated, so full of holes that I wonder if Douglas really did have the solution everyone has wanted from the very beginning. I still don’t see how we can implement it, without a major revolution; a major paradigm shift that will destroy much of the way we think the economy works.
It is ninety years since that book came out. Ninety years, with a depression and many small recessions, real and “technical”, while we’ve patched up the systems that haven’t worked and that just lead to the “same-old same-old”. Isn’t that one of the definitions of insanity: to do the same things in the same way and expect different results?
Can we afford to keep baling out existing industries, like the American car industry, where billions of dollars have gone in, and we are still not seeing a change in their fortunes? How many other industries are in a similar boat, although not as obvious to the average person that they are being propped up by money that isn’t resulting in the betterment of our societies and our communities? No, I’m not going to illustrate them. Anyone who wants to know has the internet and the World Wide Web available, and can do their own homework on this aspect. But look at real estate and the construction industry, and ask yourself why so many homes are under foreclosure or why so many owners have to sell short. The banking industry might need to take a share of the blame, but that’s only a small part of why the effect is happening. People can no longer afford to buy homes, and it is getting to the point where it is becoming unfeasible to even start a new business.
The point is that we can no longer afford to assume that the economies of nations will be able to expand “forever”. The world can’t produce enough food or other renewable resources to satisfy such expansion. We can’t afford to have 200 distinct nations, each with its own agenda. Nice as nationalism is for the various cultures, how we can preserve all the difference? We can’t afford for businesses to drive towards monopolies, and then be cut back, as has happened in the past twenty years.