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The Future of Economics

In a decaying world economy, it seems that we are more than ever in the need of a replacement or perhaps simply in the need of evolving the concept of economy, into a sustainable one.

Some say that unlimited economic progress in a world of finite natural resources is bound to collapse while other conclude that if we can move from non-consumption to consumption, we can also move from consumption back to non-consumption.

So, where do we go from here? What is the future of economics?

  • Sep 12 2012: I believe that a truly free market would be best. In the past laissez faire economics failed because of a lack of knowledge and mobility. Currently in America the government over regulates. Tyson currently has more quality control than legally required simply because someone contracting a food borne illness would be detrimental to their image and bottom line. Thus it is in their best interest to have a quality product. Capitalism in a pure form works. Boycotts are legal and workers can quit. Those two facts help employees,and customers from being taken advantage of. Government also spends way to much subsidizing. Green energy while theoretically is great currently the technology isn't practical. Also as great as the moneyless/communistic policies sound very few people will remain motivated granted their are people would continue to work due to a belief in the greater good or love of their job however incentives make the world go round. In summation quality of life has massively improves under capitalism and for the foreseeable future will continue in that derection
    • Sep 14 2012: Laissez faire economics would be a very bad idea. A) it tends to make the rich richer than technological progress can keep up with, meaning everyone else becomes poorer, since the rich won't spend all their money into the consumer economy demand will fall and you get a vicious cycle, B) without regulations no one takes into account the true cost of producing stuff: you can poison a river without having to incorporate the cost of the clean up into your price, that poisoned river will just be someone else's problem in the future, this provides an incentive to increase profit through the destruction/depletion of natural resources rather than through efficiency or technological progress, C) life would be horrible for everyone who's not a part of the economic aristocracy because they'll be living close to subsistence level in a polluted environment, forced to scavenge off the land or cleaning an aristocrat's toilet with a toothbrush: unemployment would be very high and most jobs would be menial servant jobs that the aristocrats just keep around for their own pleasure. Laissez faire capitalism is pretty much the worst system we could have in the future, even stone age hunting-gathering or hardcore communism would provide a better living standard for the average person.
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    • Mats K

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      Sep 11 2012: Peter Joseph is a brilliant storyteller. Thanks for sharing this interview.
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    Aug 27 2012: The furture of the economics will be another form of economics.......
    • Mats K

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      Sep 7 2012: Please feel free to elaborate. All [researched] answers are valued.
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        Sep 8 2012: Thanks for your interest.
        Well neither I am researcher nor an economist. What I am going to say is from naive feeling and observation.....
        My answer on post above was just answer to the main premise....
        Reading through the explanation, it seemed only capatalism is considered to be an economic system or economics as a whole which is struggling now......That being said , stuggle of socialist economy we also experienced.

        That doesn't mean that as a whole the ecomics will disappear rather we will find new solution....

        In clarifying my first post here , following are my naive thoughts from different facet in a lay man way....
        Once we had LAND based economy which ws purely agro based that if not fully replaced was over taken slowly by industrial production after the industrial revolution....

        Due to rapid technological development simple manufacturing based economy later was taken over highly competitive consumer based economy , where we drove consumerism recklessly.....as a result products got less and less sustainable.....

        From other perspective
        Barter system economy of once was taken over by gold based / money based economy....

        Though it's still money based economy but to my feeling while this economy became more global and turned into a high paced one due to development of information technology, now it is for information based economy than it is money based

        In short one form of economy was taken over by another form instead of the complete disappearance of economics as a whole.....

        Last not least technology is developing how we can use in a more efficient way our 'finite" natural resource....

        When we talk about "finite resource of world" are we only focused to earth only?What about natural resource aavailable in the vast universe (finiteness / infiniteness of which is a matter of huge debate again)?

  • Aug 26 2012: You are watching it in action.
    It is dying, finally.
    The poster below, TED Lover, made my day. I rarely find anyone, hear or read, anyone who doesn't scoff at a moneyless society and world.
    That total lack of ability, willingness and sanity to be able to envision and think differently is frightening in its own way.
    So, thanks TED Lover

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      Gail .

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      Aug 26 2012: Thanks. You may want to take note of my latest post that didn't post in the correct position.

      I already converted my business into a "pay it forward" model, but the problem I'm having is that people don't want to take what I used to charge thousands for. I don't even place a value on what one pays forward, because we are all different. Seniors can teach young people how to can vegetables, or get together in groups to do it for fun. Young people can mow lawns just because it's a nice thing to do, and rewards are certain to come even if not expected. People can act as tutors and house-raising are FUN community activities, as communities coming together to build school playgrounds show. I have a lovely library that I could make available if my community didn't already have one, and I already offer my computer (and computer skills) for free in my community. We have so many talents. Each one of us. But most do not develop them because they are taken off course by the siren call of $$$ which is so compelling because it is a fear-based and scarcity based thought system.
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    Gail .

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    Aug 26 2012: I am a proponent of the moneyless society. No form of currency - not even barter. You might find these links interesting:

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      Aug 26 2012: "No form of currency - not even barter"

      This is only possible if man produces everything he needs. There is something you must understand: man cannot produce everything for himself, (clothing, housing, food, ETC) so what he does is focus on the production of a single product, say food, and exchange the surplus of that product with shelter, clothing and what have you. When he is no longer allowed to exchange his produce with that of the next man he has to produce everything he for himself. This is not possible in a technical sense.
      • Mats K

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        Aug 26 2012: Keep in mind, the capitalism was created under the assumption of scarce resources. If man agreed on sharing all of Earths resources as the common heritage of mankind, intelligently managed the natural resources, creating abundance, and created automated systems that produced and distributed all goods and services, man would have all the necessities of life and a high standard of living without the need of exchanging goods and services through labor and servitude. When this happens the money system renders itself obsolete because it has no longer a useful purpose for our survival.
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          Aug 27 2012: Mats, capitalism was not created and you are living in a fantasy land if you believe in your presentation.. I suppose in your order people will be allocated to jobs because we have to produce and distribute. But if there is no incentive no one would work because everything is guaranteed except when we refuse to work nothing is guarante.. Government will then create a system to force people to work - that's slavery.

          What you are saying is not even possible
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          Aug 27 2012: scarcity is not eliminated by sharing and intelligent management. if there is 12 of something and we could use 17, it does not matter what you do, we have less than we could use.

          it is another case of magical thinking. you v.p. guys answer every important question with such coverups. what about scarcity? "machines!" or "intelligent management!". how is that different than "magic!"?
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        Aug 27 2012: actually not, it is "possible" also in communism. people work for work's sake, and consume as they want. why would people work in such an arrangement is an open question. the venus project answer is that machines will do all the work that people don't want to do. kind of a cop-out answer.
  • Sep 14 2012: I do realize what I proposed below may sound like "forced fairness" to some people, but honestly there will come a time when humanity learns to accept the real world for what it is and will kindly ask the libertarians of this world to go complain and go extinct from pollution and selfishness on some other planet, so the grown ups on planet Earth who did learn to share as toddlers can go on with their lives.
  • Sep 14 2012: The way I see it capitalism as we know it will continue for at least a few decades and will either cause a dramatic collapse of civilization or bring it to the brink after which a new system of economics will come to dominate the planet. The new system could be a fusion of a price system and a resource based economy. Nation states will have to disappear and people will have to get used to things like centrally established algorithms deciding macro-economic policies, such as one that automatically ensures the living income maintains its purchasing power and one that forces people to sell stuff against a price based not on current scarcity but the level of scarcity that would exist after the sale (effectively making speculation unprofitable), one that taxes natural resource consumption exponentially as the resource becomes more scarce and more of it is already in circulation (effectively encouraging recycling over mining and making society pay for stealing resources from future generations), and so on, (the algorithms can still be adjusted by a super majority in an elected government, but they're mostly supposed to run quietly in the background because they're already optimal and invented for a reason), non-transferable, resource (probably energy) backed currency, living income, global government, competing government owned creditors that siphon of businesses' profits and can only lend a certain % of GDP each month, centrally established maximum wage, communal ownership of land, and more... Because there is still a price system the exact energy conente of every good does not have to be known and because there is still limited wage flexibility no issues with motivation arise. There will be a limited amount of income inequality but the equivalent of billionaires or even millionaires won't exist (there is a maximum wage, currency is non-transferable and any net corporate profits go to society) and because of the living income no one has to worry about basic necessities.
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    Sep 2 2012: In my opinion, I think that economy is going towards a new vision to intend manufacturing system. Today, thanks to the economic crisis (or the financial crisis), to survive inside the market competition, companies are not interested any more in profits. A successful can be built taking care of social problems. This can be a great point of strenght for realising a social capitalism where the profit means social accountability and wellbeing for people and not only business for entrepreneurs.
    • Mats K

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      Sep 7 2012: Social capitalism sounds like a noble idea, but I honestly don't think this would solve the problem. A monetary system requires constant economic growth. This growth does not take our natural resources into account, which in result is not sustainable. Sustainable for our economy yes, but not our natural resources that feed, clothe and shelter us. All people need clean water, food, clothes and shelter. This can only be provided by intelligently allocating our finite resources based on the needs of the people. It's that simple.
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        Sep 9 2012: Thanks for your contribute. Sure, "social capitalism" may sound like a noble idea. Maybe it is not a great solution, but what about the other ones? Both capitalism and communism failed their purposes. So the great challenge is to find a third path. Yes, "social capitalism" could not be the right way to solve definitively the issue. So, the question is: "Is it possible to grow without profit?".
  • Aug 26 2012: First, what world is that, which has finite natural resources? You sure do not talk about the earth, so which world are you talking about?

    And no, things like peak oil do not say oil is finite, that just points at that the earth does not produce it as fast as we consume it-it does not say that the earth stops working once the shelf is empty. This is the big mistake in thinking, and that also shows why "back to the roots" is no solution. If we just sit on the oil instead of using it, we do not get new oil faster.

    There is also no "non-consumption"-that is impossible and against all rules of nature. People consumed at all times, and just that is natural. A mouse consumes all her life, so do we. The diffrence is, a mouse does not plant trees, we do! So consumption is no problem and was no problem at whatever time.

    The worlds economy is also not decaying. The economy is the econmy, nothing more. We have problems in the financial sector, not in the economical. This should not be mixed.
    • Mats K

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      Aug 26 2012: Are you subscribing to the idea that our Earth has unlimited amount of natural resources? Sure, we could easily create an abundance of resource through technology and intelligently managing our resources (if that is what you mean), but we are not doing that today unfortunately.

      By non-consumption I mean a sustainable way of managing and allocating our resources.

      The word 'economy' literally means household. Therefore an economy is not bound to be fiat currency, as we have today. There have in fact been several types of economies throughout history. Think barter and feudalism.
    • Sep 14 2012: "And no, things like peak oil do not say oil is finite, that just points at that the earth does not produce it as fast as we consume it-it does not say that the earth stops working once the shelf is empty."

      Oil prroduction on Earth is literally millions of times slower than our consumption of oil, so for all intents and purposes oil is just gone once we deplete current oil reserves: all the oil the Earth has produced in the last 100 years wouldn't even last us a day at the current consumption level.

      Other resources like timber can be regrown more easily and metals can be recycled but you need energy for that, which is ultimately finite and even recycling/regrowing won't do you any good at some point because the Earth's planting areas are finite and you can't recycle metals that are currently "stored" in someone else's car.

      The only escape is technological progress: achieve more with less, but that progress doesn't have an infinite speed and will ultimately be bound by the laws of physics.
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    Aug 26 2012: first, the world economy is not decaying. maybe the western world slowed down a little, but even that is temporary.

    but to answer the question, the future of economics is actually the past of economics. we need to return to the origins, like bastiat, cantillon, menger, mises, rothbard.
    • Mats K

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      Aug 26 2012: We see many trends that our global economy is decaying. Look at what the stock market crash back in 2008 did to homeowners and even banks. And now we see nations fail through bad monetary policies and decisions, affecting the larger part of Europe. We see people loosing their jobs through automation. We see poverty increasing and at the same time an increase in concentrated wealth. The list goes on and on and the ripple effect is beyond repair.
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        Aug 27 2012: i don't know who is that "we". pessimistic and unrealistic views are quite common though, so you can easily find company if that is what you desire. it does not make it true however. what we observe all over the world is a partial takeover of the economy by power groups, namely the government and cartels. all this happens due to the ignorance of the masses. but even this mad quest for power can't destroy the economy, just slows down its progress, maybe causes some reduction in productivity. but compared to the trend of the last few centuries, it is a minor blip. and meanwhile, india, china, brazil and other countries all around the globe enjoy progress. poverty decreases in a rapid rate, as demonstrated by hans rosling on multiple occasions at TED.

        should the people finally understand that politicians can not be trusted to run the economy, this holdup could be eliminated, and progress could be restored in no time. understanding however stems from sound theories, unlike the crypto-marxist venus project crap.
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        Aug 27 2012: ps: i just realized how appropriate the choice of word "holdup" is in this context. i meant delay initially, but it also can be viewed as an armed robbery, committed by the uneducated masses against each other, in the name of "fairness", like modern robin hoods.
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      Sep 9 2012: "but to answer the question, the future of economics is actually the past of economics. we need to return to the origins, like bastiat, cantillon, menger, mises, rothbard."

      Going back to 19th century economics to deal with today's problems makes as much sense as going back to 19th century science to answer today's scientific questions.
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    Gail .

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    Aug 26 2012: I like the "gift economy". I do what I love to do and give my talents to those who want or need use of them. I also take freely of that which is offered. In this way, we become communities and no man is an island.

    This is not yet workable because most people do not know how powerful they are, and I mean this literally. Thoughts + emotions = manifestation. We can manifest food or peace - our choice, and no one who practices this need fear violence from another or loss that cannot be replicated.

    You can easily learn how to "create (or manifest) your own reality" for free on YouTube. I can't prove it to you, but you can prove it to yourself. If it doesn't work for you, let me know and we'll review how you are doing it and I can tell you how to correct mistakes.

    You can create a beautiful life by just becoming aware of what you think and emote on a routine basis. (Emotions, in addition to be useful for manifesting, are also a tool that you can use. Strong emotions are evidence of a mistake in the belief system. Root out all of the mistakes, and you will no longer be controlled by them (subsets of fear) because the only thing left to fear is fear itself. Get to that point, and walk through it.

    Sounds wacky, I know, but it's true and it works. So when we fix ourselves, we can fix the world - but not until
  • Aug 26 2012: In his book on semantics I thought Unberto
    Eco was suggesting one needs a science to build engineering. While Count Korzibeski states that economics is a near science, people know how to do tghings like lower wages in an economy. I contend that we may not have a true science, but we know how to do a great deal of things.