Some Economic and
The first aim of human economics is to improve
quality of life,
more than amassing money
Stupid things about our economies
Superstition is not restricted to ecclesiastical dogmas.
Churches mix faith with reason in and recognise that they do this.
But the secular world makes its own assumptions about how the
economic world operates. Economists investigate economies in the
same way that theologians investigate dogmas - as if they were
givens, but both can be investigated as man-made constructions.
What men make, they can try to improve. Economies require
investigation by reason and imagination, to consider what else
might be possible.
The Great Problem: How to get better ideas implemented, or
even tested, when vested interests that profit from the present
situation are so strong.
Some examples of concepts that can help to direct thinking out
- Capitalism. A perfect theory ruined by human
greed and desire for power. Socialism. A perfect theory ruined by
human laziness and desire for power.
- Ceilings of wealth. A concept of decency, civilisation
and social insurance.
- Common Wealth. This word has a real meaning to be kept
- Co-operation. As important a concept in 21st century
economies as competition.
- Economic theories do sums with the fiction of Economic
Man, who behaves in ways predictable by economic models done on
computer, but often unlike what Real Man does.
- Economic Theory for the 21st century. Capitalist and
Marxist theory assumed that Capital and Labor are factors in
production, but natural resources were infinite. Now natural
resources must be factored into the costs of production as
Future Cost (qv).
- Employment. Jobs that are needed. If all the jobs that
need to be done were being done, there need be no unemployment.
The problem is, how to pay for them to be done, when their great
benefit is for the total society and for the future, not private
- Failsafes. Encouraging innovations needs failsafes if
they do not work. For example, if 'level playing field' global
trade proves a global trap, how can Australia survive? If foreign
debt leads to control by overseas creditors, how can Australia
survive? When 'growth' has to stop some time, as resources run
short, how can the economy and Australians survive? I
- Freedom to Work Day. One day each week when all, rich & poor, are supposed to work.
- Future Cost is what the future must pay for what we
spend today, an estimate to be factored in with Capital and Labor
as a major component of product cost. A sum to be taken into
account in all our planning and costing of life-styles, capital
outlays etc. "The Future Cost of an 8-cylinder car is one third
more than a 4-cylinder."
- Gross Unnecessary Suffering (GUS) is one measure of the
true wealth and prosperity of a country, to include with other
measures such as GNP. "GNP of this developing nation doubled last
year but QOL (Quality of life) is worse for a third of the
population, and GUS has not improved at all." Detail is available
of such indexes.
- Growth. What is it? When and how does quantitative
growth stop, without resulting in cancers or decay? We must look
ahead to how and when it must stop, and change to 'qualitative
growth', that prevents stagnation. Production has traditionally
been a process of Natural resources Æ Product Æ Waste,
more suitable for large-scale products than supply of services.
Now this consumption goal is being challenged
- Human Rationalism rather than Economic Rationalism
- Independence of nations. Political independence means
without economic independence.l Nation States began with reducing
the lawlessness and rapacity of robber barons; today the barons
are international, beyond national laws. Nation states have a
function together to protect people from their lawlessness and
greed. Cross-national organisations oriented only to profit must
not take out of local control the uses of property, conditions of
employment, local sustenance and prevention of poverty. Banana
monarchies and colonial republics are not the goal for our country
or any other.
- Index of Gross Unnecessary Suffering and Index of
Quality of Life to be published for each country along with
GDP and GNP as measures of a country's wealth.
- Index of RDP (Real Domestic Product) omits from its
calculations the financial transactions involved in antisocial and
destructive activitie - e.g. traffic accidents, expensive
law-suits, antisocial advertising, demolition of perfectly
- Inverted Pyramid. Our present economic system balances
on pinpoints, like a great inverted pyramid. It only needs a tiny
error like a Y2 bug, and the whole thing can topple.
- Jobs that are needed. See
list. If all the work that needs to be done were being done, there
would be no unemployment. The criterion for job creation is that
the jobs need to be done - not whether they make a profit for
- Jobs. 'Tuesday work for all' On one day a week, nobody
is to be idle. Everyone, from richest to poorest, is under social
obligation to spend one day working usefully, whatever the work
they choose may be. Children can be helpful, the sick can cheer
their carers. The dole is pay for that one day's work, any sort of
work, undertaken on their own responsibility and not requiring any
bureaucratic administration, but it must be something useful that
takes a whole day. Then people and money would both be less
wasted. This cannot threaten wages for full-time workers.Nobody is
bludging because they are earning the dole, and continue work
experience. Much useful employment could operate on this principle
without taking away any full-time workers jobs, and many avenues
of fulltime profitable employment could develop.
- The fallacy of the Marketplace as the ideal regulator of
supply and demand is that demand is wealth-driven. For most needs
of the world, the question is how to pay for them.
- Midas Syndrome. King Midas was delighted with the gift
of turning everything into gold - and discovered that life is more
important than metal. People with the Midas syndrome think that a
Moody's rating or material wealth is more important than fresh
air, pure water and food, happy relationships, a beautiful
environment, and satisfying work and play.
- Money was invented to be a means of exchange of goods
and services, but it siphons off into sinks - overseas and to the
'already haves' - rather than circulating through the whole
community, round and round. Circulating Money is needed
- $OAP. A thought-provoking measure for incomes, expressed
in terms of the Old Age Pension.to bring home what all those
$000,000s really mean. "The directors awarded themselves a rise of
10 $OAP." "The Minister was given a rise of 10 $OAP." "The cost of
renovations to Parliament Building is equivalent to all $OAP
payouts for ten years."
- Production has traditionally been a process of Natural
resources ÆProduct Æ Waste. Large-scale production profits more than supplying
services. But the "< Consumption" goal is challenged as
unemployment continues, the poor are jobless, and resources
- Public Enterprise as well as Private Enterprise.
Structures and leadership within profit-making public-owned
organisations to give the advantages of private enterprise, except
that the profits go to revenue, and there is more public
accountability. Making the most of both co-operation and
competition and avoiding
i. the banes of State enterprises, which are
laziness, featherbedding, expanding bureaucracies and
Parkinson's Injelititis, and
ii. the banes of private enterprises, which are
greed, unethical dealing, exploitation of workers, and wasteful
competition which prevents sharing of knowledge and
- Quality of Life (QOL) is measure of a country's real
prosperity, to help make people think more critically about GNP as
being the only or a sufficient measure of a nation's wealth.
Indexes can calculate these measures.
- Quality of life. In an ideal society, on a lovely day everyone
can go outside and enjoy it.
- Regional Currency circulates only within a country or
region, unlinkable with the national currency that is used for
banking, finance and international trade. Regional currency can
only keep circulating to pay for goods and services - it can be
banked only for security. It cannot drain out of the region or
country or be trapped in the sink of millionaires' profits or even
interest-bearing private saving. That means that there need be no
paradox of need combined with unemployment. Jobs that are needed
can be paid for, because the wages will be returning into
circulation to pay for local goods and services, and the income
from these that is received in regional currency will be then
passed on again, round and round.
- Resources Costs of the major world industries can be
made public - war, arms, drugs.
- Riches. The job of big business should be legally
changed to include social responsibilities, to improve the whole
commonwealth, with shareholders the second priority. e.g. Plotting
takeovers gives something for power-hungry executives to do, and
to spend surplus profits on, and reduces their competition, but
other healthy companies need protection from them. This is
particularly important when takeovers from overseas destroy the
local competition in this way.
- Self-terminating Shares and Loans that terminate when
the dividends and interest paid add up to x times what was
originally paid for them, regardless of prices in transactions
since ( x = what would be fair, allowing for rewards for taking
risks in investment - or not risked, in the case of government
bonds.) The greatest problem with public and private debt is that
until the capital can be paid off, the borrower continues to pay
interest. It is said that heirs are still receiving interest from
loans made to finance the Battle of Waterloo. The share-owner who
has contributed his capital is paid his dividend as long as
production continues to be profitable, although the laborer is
paid his wage for his share in contribution to production - and
that is that. This is inequitable. The consequences of such a
scheme would be far-ranging - and have a strange and possibly
beneficial effect on the workings of the Stock Exchange.
- The Sustainable Household is as important as the
Marketplace in thinking about Economics. Snooks and others have
written on this. It will be even more important in the future, as
waste becomes recognised as a major problem leading to shortages
- Take-overs. Plotting takeovers gives something for
power-hungry executives to do, and reduces the competition they
face, but there needs to be protection against this for healthy
companies. This is particularly important when takeovers from
overseas destroy the local competition, which is likely to have
more concern for the welfare of their own country
- Taxes. Useful taxes. Many ideas come to mind that would
be more socially useful than payroll tax or taxes on goods and
services. For example, a Benevolence Tax - A wealth tax in
which the payer can stipulate the benevolent use that can be made
of it, from a published list of organizations and purposes which
would like to receive Benevolences (new meaning for an old word! -
we may update Indulgences next. Another idea.) The sum is
extracted from the rich taxpayer by the Taxation Office which
forwards it to the organization, to prevent any funny business.
The payoff for the Benevolent Taxpayer is honor and glory.
(Detailed account available.)
- Waste-prevention today is as important as production of
material products to ensure a country's continued prosperity and
positive trade balance. It should be a major source of high-status
employment. At present at least 50% of our production is either
wasted or barely utilised.
- Wealth defined as money is not the same as true wealth,
or Common Wealth. Increasingly it is accumulated from
non-productive sources and even anti-productive international
financial dealings, land speculation, futures, derivatives and
stock-exchange speculation. It then increases disastrous economic
cycles and financial problems of nations.
Work - redefinitions and distinctions are needed.
Paid and unpaid work are both work. Do not ask,
'Do you work,' but 'Are you unwaged?' 'Is your work at home'? Some
Being paid Just that.
Drudgery Forced activity that may be useful but is
dreary and satisfying
Employment Activity that is paid, which may or may not
be useful or satisfying
Earning Paid for doing work that is socially
Pay distinguished from earnings - between what people
are paid and what they actually earn. "The lawyer was paid $2000
per hour - more than he earned. The cleaners were paid $10 hour -
less than they earned. The inventor earned $1,000,000 for his
edible packaging but was only paid $10,000'
Play Enjoyable activity, which may or may not be
Toil Hard labour which may or may not be drudgery or
Unproductive employment' , an invidious category in
which people are paid for useless or antisocial activities.
Unwaged. Someone who does not get paid. A person without
a job in the 'workforce' may be unwaged, but not unemployed,
because they have plenty of work to do. It can never be said of a
housewife that she 'does not work' - but of many supposedly
employed people it should be said that they 'don't work much'.
Work Redefined as useful and satisfying activity, that
may also be play.
Workwork. Work that doesn't get paid, eg. housework. Q.
"Do you work ?"(meaning, do you get paid). A. "No, I
Work is useful and satisfying, drudgery
Wasteful and useless activity is not work, even if people are paid