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Economics is transdisciplinary, so it is naturally going to move into a variety of fields. There are many research topics in Economics...my favourite areas are Labour Economics, Welfare Economics, Feminist Economics, and Women and the Economy. In my experience, Calculus is only about 1/4 of the math used in Economics...most of it is actually Linear Algebra (matrices), which becomes very useful in determining 'signs', ie. when there is a shock to the economy, or the government announces x-change, will the variable (ie. gdp) increase or decrease, or is the change ambiguous? Does the estimated change differ from the predicted sign? I maintain, that the research done in Economics is useful only when it is done to help people. I suspect many rabblers are put off with the amount of economic research that is done in macroeconomics (ie. international trade). I vouch that much progressive research is done in economics that improves the lives of people; we just don't hear about it that often.Also, much of today's economic research has been heavily influenced by the late Milton Friedman from the "chicago" school in economics. Friedman's work is still enormously controversial, to say the least.
Henwood: When I first started this newsletter, I also thought that all "we" needed to do was get the facts out there and the politics would eventually sort themselves out. People were either under- or misinformed, and a "better empiricism," as an old friend of the newsletter once put it, would do the trick. If only life were so simple. It's become clear over the last twenty years (to me, that is) that facts often matter little in politics; that ingrained "common sense" or the eagerness to believe what one wants to believe often takes precedence over rational argument. You can tell people that the U.S. is the most income-polarized society in the First World and that our economic mobility is no greater than Old Europe's—if you get the chance to tell them, that is—and they either won't believe you, or they'll quickly forget what they've just learned. Because, as everybody just knows, class distinctions don't matter in America because we're so fluid, and we're all middle class anyway, except maybe Bill Gates and that troublesome urban underclass.
I've found this happening far too often myself. I'll get into an argument with someone who believes that current economic policies are good enough, that everything about the way western society functions has no problems at all, but when I point out the problems that are affecting us and the problems we're causing, and how so many things have been defined in a fraudulent fashion to distract people from reality, they'll agree with it. The next time the subject comes up, it'll be as if we never had the latter dicussion to begin with and I'll have to state the factual all over again.
The problem I have with today's economists and the economists that have helped to build the economic policies in place today are that they frequently employ a large dose of blatant hypocrisy in their reasoning. Their ideas are arrogantly fascistic at best, and have everything to do with assuming that people are too dumb to take control of their own lives and destinies.
The obsession with the idea that growth is the only way forward is what's killing us all right now. We have limited resources, and this is becoming more and more apparent every day, sometimes even with every hour, yet we continue on this path of growth at any cost for its own sake. Not only are serious shortages of materials just over the horizon, but wars over these shortages as well. We need economists who can think of ways to do more with what we already have, and instead we're stuck with the ones who want to continue on with ideas that are now two hundred years old and no longer have anything to do with our current reality.
Originally posted by Illuminoid:[b]The obsession with the idea that growth is the only way forward is what's killing us all right now. We have limited resources, and this is becoming more and more apparent every day, sometimes even with every hour, yet we continue on this path of growth at any cost for its own sake.[/b]
Growth is the only way first and third world countries can keep the wolf from our front door, or iow's, the banking cabal which enjoys hypnotic power over democratically-elected governments everywhere. Since ythe 1980's-1991, there isn't enough cash money circulating in the Canadian economy to ever pay down what must be over a trillion dollars worth of personal, provincial and federal debt to private banks. It wasn't always this way. Between 1938 and 1974, Canada's Central Bank created as much as a quarter of the money supply on a near interest-free basis. Our total national debt by 1974 was a paltry $18 billion dollars.
So the the bottom line in all of this is that there is never enough money to pay interest on debt owed to banks, only the principal amount is ever created. Governments, businesses and people must continually go into more and more debt to create the money to pay interest owed on existing debt. When debts become too much to handle, businesses experience downturns, layoffs happen and people lose their homes and stuff to the banks or the armies of finance companies owned or operated through banks with ownership in easy credit agencies. Growth is given in the economic model we are enslaved to.
And I agree, the whole thing is unworkable considering environmental constraints. Capitalist's profits are being made at great social costs and expense to the environment. They're not even operating on the basis of demand anymore, because that would imply there was competition. Multinational conglomerates are dictating demand to people through billion dollar advertising. People are brainwashed into believing they need the lastest plastic widget created from oil byproducts and sweat shop labour.
Capitalists today operate by oligopolies. Real capitalism was just an idea that died in 1929, and it that idea is out of date with today's economic constraints of dwindling resources, irreparable damage to the global enviroment, and capitalism is at risk of being unable to meet the needs of individuality once thought to be a hallmark of capitalism. Instead, individualism is rewarded with few questions asked about how or why whether it was even warranted. It's high time there was a revolution and governments created to be run by and for ordinary people.
I'm well aware of the interesting financial conundrum we have. In fact, every country in the world has that same problem, since the World Bank has effectively stolen all of the world's currency, and what we have left is money that's not actually worth anything because it's backed by the very debt we owe in order to get our money back. A very clever scheme, no?
But still, regardless of what's happened to our money, growth does not have to be the only way forward. Norway is a good example of this. Norway is by no means the fastest growing nation on the planet, but the people who live there seem to have a very good system of government and a good standard of living. Instead of striving to be fastest growing, I think we should do something do something along the line of striving to be within the top ten to fifteen, but never the first, second or third. If we should reach that point, it might be a good indicator that we should cut back our growth for a while and see how other people get ahead.
I don't think there's any danger of Canada making the top ten list for most competitive economies in the world. Even socialist Norway ranks higher by that indicator, as small a country as it is.
I think our colonial administrators are happy to allow our fossil fuels and massive amounts of total energy exports to be siphoned off to the States for a song. Canada feeds growth happening in the U.S. and other economies with our unparalleled natural wealth. Studies have suggested that countries with oil and mineral wealth tend to be plagued by corruption.
oops wrong thread even
[ 22 July 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]