This man writes well March 11, 2009 at 7:40 am

He says:

The state that promises maximised choice and minimal risk is in serious danger of encouraging people to forget two fundamentals of economic reality – scarcity as an inexorable truth about a materially limited world, and concrete productivity and added value as the condition for increasing purchasing power or liberty, and thus sustaining any kind of market…

In contrast to an economic model in which the exchange of goods is the basic process being analysed or managed, we have encouraged a model in which the process of exchange itself has become the raw material, the motor of profit-making. But the problem comes when massively inflated credit is “called in”: when the disproportion between actual, measurable material security and what is being claimed and traded on the market is so great that confidence in the institutions involved collapses.

The writer, if you are interested, is Archbishop Rowan Williams. He reminds me of an insightful book from the 70s, The Limits to Growth. Perhaps we should be asking a little more forcefully what growth is for: if strong increases in GDP always come with volatility, or gross income inequality, or both, is maximising GDP always the right course?

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