Posted: May 19, 2014 12:16 am
by Andrew Burns
I think that there is a lot to be said for an impartial reassessment of the economic structures at work and their tacit acceptance by world governments and non-governmental organizations like the IMF and World Bank.

The overwhelming economic strategy for most world governments and NGOs is one of continued growth. Growth seemed a regular occurrence for most of the last hundred years (if you are willing to only consider the wealth of industrialized countries and ignore the regular incidents of recession, drought, etc.). The reality is that growth is not a constant, and the steady increase in growth was partially due to third-world and colonial exploitation. The expectation of world economies post-peak-oil (which, most likely, occurred globally 2005-2010) and with global water, food and energy crises calls for strategies of global cooperation and scarcity management. This would mean a vast paradigm shift that most economists are nowhere near making.

World Governments often make the assumption that economists are the best source for economic advice (obviously, some would say). The truth is, that economists generally; study the past, are regularly predisposed toward positivism (they think everything is great and that the market will "sort it out"), and are often quite guilty of ignoring information that go against their positivist standpoint (case in point, the complete refusal of most economic analysts to acknowledge and predict the 2008 economic collapse which began in the United States but had far reaching global implications).

The solution? In my opinion, world governments need to adopt a more broad awareness of global economic conditions, not simply the key markets and how they have done in the past. Further, global economic conditions are affected by global social conditions, ecological conditions and political conditions. This already sounds like an impossible task, but foundational work has been done by Arjun Appadurai and Ulrich Beck among others. If an economist believes that the solution to their specific countries issues is to increase gross domestic product, they do not understand what the future has in store for an increasingly interconnected and scarcity bound world.