New Economics needs New Politics?

#1

Any views on this?
Seems essential , so how do we make this happen?

#2

I think that there may be very important lessons to be learned from the group Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Disclaimer: I’m the Coordinator for CCL Ireland!).

CCL started in the US in 2007 with the laser-focused mission of lobbying for the introduction of a carbon fee and dividend as a way to internalise the costs of climate change into the price of carbon. Their approach and culture is non-partisan, respectful, appreciative and supportive and their premis is that politicians respond to political will - they don’t create it. Their method is to empower citizens with the training, knowledge and tools to quietly, incessantly and professionally lobby politicians, media and influencers.

Today there are around 100,000 volunteers in 457 active chapters around the world, quiety doing their thing. And it works!

  • From zero two years ago they now have 72 members of the US congress in their Climate Solutions Caucus. That’s 36 Republicans and 36 Democrats - over 1/3 of the way to a majority!
  • Their policy is supported from everyone from Exxon to the US Green Party (yes, really!), and from veteran climate scientist/activist James Hansen to Stephen Hawkings.
  • Their policy has been endorsed by everyone from the Democrat-controlled leglislature of California to young Republic groups acros the US.
  • Indications are that there will be further big political movement in 2018

I believe that the methods of CCL can be used for other causes, and for general political engagement, involvement and empowerment. Quiet, respectful lobbying works (which is why so many corporations do it!).

Therefore, can I suggest that as a start for a ‘Doughnut Politics’ an attempt be made to meet with every single MP, MEP, media editor and other influencers (especially in economcs and finance), give them a copy of the book and an overview of the doughnut pespective?

The Citizen’s Climate Lobby political method is certainly the best and most effective I have seen in today’s polarised, partisan, complex political world. IMHO practitioners of Doughnut Politics should copy them!!

#3

In reply to your question, “New Economics needs new Politics?” My response is “Yes, absolutely, the two are entwined ”. The good news is that new political models are forming. As part of my own endeavours in developing a political model to enable societies to move towards quality of life for all, I have been seeking out organisations that look to be working on ideas to help deliver better forms of sustainable and inclusive politics. As a result, I have created a public twitter list “Democracy & Civic Engagement” that can be found at https://buff.ly/2FoQUuf . This at present includes the twitter addresses of 15 organisations whom I am currently following. I hope to grow this number as I continue my investigations. For the avoidance of doubt, I am not connected with nor am I endorsing these organisations or their ideas. I would be pleased to receive any feedback and hear of other work in this field.

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#5

As I watch Trumpism rise to hold the reigns of political power here in America I am reminded of those economists that preached (yes, preached, for it was more religious ideology than science) a pseudo-scientific social mathematics that traded toy models for reality tweaking parameters while Rome burned all the while ignoring weightier matters of special-interest money & and its corrupting influence upon or political system and social fabric. Neoliberal mainstream economics claimed to be a value-free science, when in truth it was a form of amoral secular materialism that when trickled down into vulgar popularism became an unholy amalgam of fundamentalist religion qua market fundamentalism.
To an extent difficult to measure but impossible to ignore, the viability of liberal society depends on its ability to engender a virtuous citizenry. (Nelson 2001, 4, Economics as Religion)
Politics trumps economics plain and simple. Without an informed civil society that elects wise leadership special interests will always capture via political machinations the reigns of power and use them for profiteering gain at the same expense of everyone else. And the only way to create an informed civil society is through a healthy and balanced tending of gardens with the proper mix of attention to philosophy (ethics, morality, and the meaning of ‘virtue’), religion (we ignore it at our own peril, as the rise of rabid fundamentalism in America proves), and a science informed by philosophy to prevent blind scientism.

Without a culture that fosters trust (concern for one’s neighbor, or public good) opportunistic self-interest degenerates into a form of predatory capitalism of takers rather than makers. Culture, values, morality, along with philosophy and religion cannot be ignored if we ever want to create a doughnut economy.

#6

Nelson in his Economics as Religion lays bare the messianic religious roots of modern economic theory.

In his 1930 essay “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren,” Keynes agreed with Marx (and Jesus) that capitalism—necessarily grounded in the desire for money and the competitive workings of self-interest in the market—is a “disgusting” system, characterized by motives unworthy of human beings. Christianity, and later Marxism, were right to believe that “avarice is a vice, that the exaction of usury is a misdemeanor, and the love of money is detestable.” Keynes also agreed that it was the force of economic pressures—the result of material scarcity in the world and the resulting fierce struggle for mere physical survival—that had separated human beings from their inner better selves. Marx was right to say that the economic workings of capitalism (and feudalism and other economic systems before that) had alienated human beings from their true natures (as the Fall in the Garden had previously been thought to be the true cause of this separation). As Keynes himself put it, the economic individual had been required to suppress a natural instinct to “pluck the hour and the day virtuously and well,” to be able to take spontaneous and “direct enjoyment in things,” as was possible for the “lilies of the field who toil not, neither do they spin.” (….) “All kinds of social customs and economic practices, affecting the distribution of wealth and of economic rewards and penalties, which we now maintain at all costs, however distasteful and unjust they may be in themselves, because they are tremendously useful in promoting the accumulation of capital, we shall then be free, at last, to discard.” It will all come about, Keynes writes, as a result of “the greatest change that has ever occurred in the material environment of life for human beings in the aggregate.” After this happens, we will finally be “able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us” for centuries. (Nelson 2001, 30-31, http://www.econ.yale.edu/smith/econ116a/keynes1.pdf)

The claim that the fundamental causes of economic events in the world are ideas in human minds, especially philosophical and religious ideas as experienced in human consciousness, is reinforced by Thomas C. Leonard’s “Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era.” Alexander Rosenberg in “Philosophy of Social Science” notes that “One cannot pursue the agenda of research in any of the social sciences without taking sides on philosophical issues, without committing oneself to answers to philosophical questions. At a minimum, social scientists need to recognize this fact about themselves. It is even better if the choices made are based on evidence and argument (Rosenberg 2016, 1).” Rosenberg’s assessment is echoed in Friedel Weinert’s “The Scientist as Philosopher: Philosophical Consequences of Great Scientific Discoveries.” Weinert notes,

[W]hen the facts speak against the adequacy of the concepts, something needs to give way. (Weinert 2004: 95) The notion of presupposition is well known to philosophers and historians of science… It has often been observed that presuppositions play a pivotal role in human thinking… It is important to realize that presuppositions change. But it is even more important to inquire how and why they change. (Weinert 2004: 100)

The reason for the everlasting interaction between science and philosophy transpires clearly. The human mind musters an admirable ability to think up equations for physical systems. But equations need to be interpreted in terms of physical models and mechanisms. Science requires conceptual understanding. This understanding employs fundamental philosophical notions. (….) The scientific enterprise comes with philosophical commitments, whether the scientist likes it or not. The scientist needs philosophical ideas, simply because amongst the experimental and mathematical tools in the toolbox of the scientist there are conceptual tools, like fundamental notions. The despairing scientist may ask: ‘Will we ever get an answer?’ The philosopher replies: ‘Not a definitive answer, but a few tentative answers.’ Recall that the philosopher (and the scientist qua philosopher) works with conceptual models. At any one time only a few of these models are in circulation. They cannot provide the definitive answers of which the scientist is fond. But this is typical of models even in the natural sciences. (Weinert 2004, 278-279)

Simply replacing one “invisible hand” based upon homo economicus for another “invisible hand” based upon homo evolution complexitas ignores that in the end it is visible hands guided by human minds implementing ideas, ideals, and ideology, that decide what kind of economy we shall have. Let’s hope we don’t deconstruct one reified metaphor only to replace it with another eclipsing the role of ideas in deciding economic outcomes. (See, for example: Biology and Ideology: From Descartes to Dawkins and Human Nature and the Limits of Science)

#8

Hello @tony.shannon,

as pointed out in doughnut economics book, we face the probable assumption, that politicians are havyly influenced by corporate or wealth influence producing for example:

  1. Private and politically funded mass media systems.
  2. Public Relations communication, instead of expert reports discussed.
  3. Cooperation of fitting economic theory to power constelation (neoliberalism).
  4. Construction of distopias not profound actually increasing radicalisation and distraction.

So in Germany there is a discussion on better integrating scientific results into democratic debate, to get better informed citizens influencing political dicissions. For example professors argue with students about contemporary distopian thories about their issues and extend to which they should be proper critique in comparison to panic producing.

So I personally wrote an article to guide interest groups to leverage points of economic political regulation (https://marius-a-schulz.de/2018/11/21/sozialer-frieden/ ; there is a translation widget in the menu) trying to center the discussion on overseen aspects and leverage points. This is about focus and transfer of knowledge from my profs to my readers mediated over my work.

About the media issues, I´ve developed an idea for an edge computing news agency, which shouldn´t be faced with interest guided news manipulating discussion, but may face other issues. A very simple version of this news agency is exemplified in this article: https://marius-a-schulz.de/2018/12/13/wissensmanagement/ .

So summarised my solution is to try to build expert recommendation public relation systems to guide political discussion towards profound solutions, but we seem to face issues with politicians ceeping public at bay. This is why some enhanced regulation on private earnings of politicans may be a better solution.

Regards,
Marius.

While I´m working on providing solutions to interest groups to

#9

A new political party focused on a fair and sustainable future for Britain with the doughnut providing the framework for policy?

#10

Thanks Marius

I like that idea of an effort towards;

yet I fear that human nature will mean that people representing that State (politicians) will continue to foster relationships with other people representing the Market, while the common narrative is that the “Market is the solution”.
So just as important imho is the promote other messages such as that the “Commons is a space for shared solutions” or something snappier to that effect

thanks
Tony