The BBC website starts an article with this opening statement, “Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has promised the "biggest shake-up of our democracy" in 178 years as he sets out plans for political reform.” Supposedly the government is looking at a “power revolution” and is willing to relinquish control. Yes, the British political system probably does need a shake up but is it really going to address the real problems of our current period in history? This is supposedly power to the people but what about an economic revolution!
I propose a complete overhaul of economic thinking. As long as the focus of economic thinking is on balancing books and profit ahead of benefit or value to people or the world, we are going to continue to have social and environmental problems. The assumptions behind a lot of economic thinking is that resources are unlimited and that people are simply disposable resources.
The focus on economic thinking has to change to putting benefit and value to the world, including people, ahead of profit. It needs to focus on the welfare of the planet and the people ahead of financial benefit and on having sustainable resource utilisation. Recycling should be part of the standard approach to doing business and not an additional cost factor which can be discarded if there is not enough profit margin.
A focus on balancing the government books has to be more than the monetary income exceeding the expenditure. It needs to include the environmental, social, community, health, and welfare costs. If we need to spend billions to correct the excesses and destruction caused by past economic thinking then we need to be willing to pay that cost regardless of whether traditional economic principles are being broken.
If we really want to solve the world's problems then traditional economics needs to be pushed aside and we need to look at the destructive costs to the environment, people, and culture caused by our focus on profitability. Let us examine how to live a balanced and equitable life style not based on financial accounting but on the welfare and living standards of our planet.
So politicians, when are we going to see the economic revolution that will bring us to a new ecological and social order?
BBC News website (2010) “Nick Clegg pledges biggest political reforms since 1832”, From http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8690882.stm