Neoliberalism is unfit for the purpose of human survival – Editor
The following commentary was extracted from an article by Bob Douglas which appeared in the blogsite of John Menadue Pearls & Irritations on 29 Dec 2019 .
“ If we humans are to survive the catastrophic threats that now confront us, we must urgently rethink the way we live and care for our planetary home. In turn, that demands that we examine the role that economic theory and practice play in the way modern societies operate. There is a case for moving outside the economics profession for a frank discussion of the way the current economic model affects us all.
“ Geoff Davies, a prize winning ANU geoscientist has been researching the economy-for about 20 years and has written a series of books about the way economics impacts on the way we live. His most recent contribution, “THE LITTLE GREEN I’m afraid of ECON- OMICS, but I want save the world, BOOK” summarises his conclusions and I think they require broad discussion and debate.
“ Davies claims that the theory of neoliberalism, with its unconstrained markets, that continues to dominate public policy around the world, is an “irrelevant fabrication.” He points out that the Australian government creates money; it doesn’t borrow it and that the so-called budget deficit problem is a “misunderstanding and a beat up.” He says that the actual performance of the economy has been well short of official claims for it and that it has led to citiz- ens carrying huge debts, while the productive part of the economy has been hollowed out. He argues that there are far more sensible ideas avail- able, which would allow us to “stop trashing the land and stop ruining the planet before it is too late”.
“ Davies vigorously rejects growth in GDP as an appropriate measure of human progress. He claims that it is a measure of the quantity of “stuff” we consume, as well as all the money we spend on trying to fix things that have gone wrong: that it is seriously muddled and doesn’t really qualify as accounting.
“ I have carefully reviewed four of Dr Davies’ economics books and am firmly attracted to his ideas and conclusions. And of course, he is not alone in his rejection of the centrality of neoliberalism as the driving force for the global economy and its contribution to the way we live. … “
Bob Douglas is a retired public health academic and a Director of Australia21 (www.australia21.org.au) for which he leads a project entitled “Survival Matters”.