Friday, December 24, 2010

New Economic models needed...not just pursuing profit

From John Ralston Saul's book, The Collapse of Globalism, (Penguin, 2005), p. 23
The Jordanian intellectual Prince Hassan now calls for a redefinition of "poverty in terms of  human well-being rather than in tersm of monetary wealth.' Mapaysia has developed a Growth with Equity model. The Bhutanese, with their hard-headed yet orinic style, work behind something called GNH--Gross National Happiness. And China is now focused on a quality-of -life approach in the place of the GDP.Why?
The easy answer is that none of these nation-states sees itself as an outpost of Western economic theory. Each regards itself as a centre and one with urgent needs. These need have nothing to do with Globalization adn everything to do with strengthening their particular nation-state by focusing, as in the case of China, on their explosive levels of poverty, but in a more stable and locally appropriate manner.
Western countries, like those in North America and Europe have adopted the managerial, financial models of worship of the Gross Domestic Product, and the National Levels of Unemployment, as indicators of how their economies are doing. And the story has not been pretty.
One has to wonder if the rest of the world, by simply not adhering to a similar global model, whereby the rich get ever more wealthy and the number of people suffering from real poverty continues to climb, are declaring their independence from the kind of pursuit of short-term profit that so hobbles the west.
If that is the case, then the 'west' can only look to these countries, smaller, and historically less wealthy, for their future models of wellness, where the economy serves the interests and the needs of the people and not the interests and needs of the wealthy and the managerial class.
The world needs more leaders, creative thinkers, unconventional men and women who are not slaves to the models proposed by their business school professors, and their narrow-minded and short-sighted politicians like the archetype of the group, Mike Harris, former premier of Ontario.
And from the class of creative thinkers, who would and do frighten the managerial class, for whom there is really no problem, only situations requiring management, and only from the creative thinkers, will come the new models that do not focus all eyes and minds and hearts on the short-term acquisition of profit, as an end in itself.
Any civilization that sets profit as its national goal is inevitably going to fall into the trap of it own self-seduction, because such a goal is simply unsustainable.


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