Beyond the Consumer Machine: A Narrative for the New Economy
Anthony James presented at an important and dynamic conference in Sydney in August, titled Building the New Economy. Many presentations will be uploaded to the conference website shortly. Anthony’s is a call to the obvious in many ways, yet what is still so often neglected. What is the purpose of the economy? If it’s about quality of life (what else?), then quantity of money, energy and material are only a few ingredients. What is it that we’re baking? And what are the optimal amounts of those ingredients we need?
“If I was a football coach devising a system to win a premiership, would my priority be for my team to simply get as many touches of the ball as possible? If I’m seeking to communicate better, would my priority be to use as many words as possible? Or if I was baking a cake, would it make sense to use as many ingredients as possible? Why, then, when it comes to trying to live a high quality life, or create a high quality economic system, would my priority be to seek as much money and material as possible?
“Yet this is the narrative of modern society, and therefore the economic system we employ to make it happen. That may have been all well and good, while the correlation between quality of life and material ‘standards’ of living appeared strong. But this correlation is weakening. A growing spate of titles such as ‘Affluenza’, ‘Stuffocation’ and ‘How Much is Enough?’ speak to the phenomenon. In the latter, Robert and Edward Skidelsky say this about the current system: ‘It has given us wealth beyond measure, but has taken away the chief benefit of wealth: the consciousness of having enough.’”
To read on, click here.
For more on the conference, click here.
To join the Facebook group stemming from the conference, a forerunner to the forming New Economy Coalition of Australia, click here.