Feed on

In our new project http://debt-issues.blog.rosalux.de/2012/05/28/invitation-to-participate/

http://ifg.rosalux.de/files/2011/12/RLF-Intro2.pdf – Ali Douai

http://ifg.rosalux.de/files/2011/12/fow-Ecological-Economics-and-the-Critical-Theory-of-Modern-Society-10-2011.pdf – Frieder Otto Wolf

http://ifg.rosalux.de/files/2011/12/RLF-2011-281020111.pdf – Judy Brown


The role of science related to the government and the society

How does neoclassical economies relate to the system of representative democracy and the need for decision makers to have clear evidence that their policies are efficient?

“Sustainability economics” or “economics for a sustainable society”?

i. e. look at ideas of sustainable societies, local economies, changes in the money system and in the theory about them, rather than treaty and economy as separate from the rest of the world

How can we promote critical thinking not just in academia, but also public spaces? More…

Reasons for the Attractiveness of Neoclassical Economics

Yes, Joachim Spangenberg is certainly right when – with Christian Arnsperger and Yanis Varoufakis in mind – he points to methodological individualism, methodological instrumentalism and the methodological equilibrium axiom. And of course I completely agree with Peter Söderbaum when he stresses the historical background of neoclassical economics. Another factor is that by now generations of people have grown up, learned and studied under conditions of hegemonic neoliberalism.

In addition I would like to point to two other issues: 1. Neoliberal-shaped thinking is encouraged by modern information and communication technologies. The use of personal computers is already so much “a part of this” that in its functional logic one thinks: I press A and the PC “does” something; if I want that, I have to press B … In this way formal logic and one-dimensionality are reinforced. 2. The technology is attractive, because it saves us time. In the end, we are continuously under stress, searching in the internet, under pressure to perfect our technical and immaterial capacities. Even in our free time we play with technology. We never manage to think in peace, are fascinated by virtual worlds, our anti-ecological mobility and our mode of life. More…

In relation to the first question, I see neoclassical economics’ strength based on two pillars.

  • The first pillar relates to the fact that science, knowledge, technology, social organisation and environment have all co-evolved around fossil hydrocarbons in such a way that it gave neoclassical framework a particular advantage. Above all, our technological basis has been focused on fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution and this fossil fuel-driven economy has co-evolved with society and ideology. Since industrialisation advanced through the development of capitalism, it promoted individualist as well as materialist values, and favoured the development of a reductionist understanding at the expense of systemic understanding (as noted by Söderbaum, 2008). The model then continuously rewarded itself in the sense that it altered the way the environment is viewed, since the materialistic and individualistic values it assumes became more and more socially accepted. This is like a social-lock in. Many important alternative contributions have then been largely disregarded by this status quo. More…

Please see: http://ifg.rosalux.de/files/2011/10/RLF28October2011S%C3%B6derbaumIntroductory-remarks13.pdf

(Because of a technical mismanagement you have to copy the link and to pave it into the web address line.)

Please see: http://ifg.rosalux.de/files/2011/10/Why-neoclassical-economics-is-attractive1.pdf

Workshop introduction 

Adam Smith as a pluralist and/or institutionalist

The constructs Smith set forth and later developed by his successors largely define how we meet “needs” and what we value and discount. Of all the constructs we use in the course of our work, this economic model is clearly the most powerful. We create products and yield a profit through the management of Smith’s capital (physical capital), labor (human capital), and land (natural capital). Smith suggests that capital is best employed for production and distribution of wealth under conditions of laissez-faire (governmental noninterference) and free trade. In a linear and deliberate expansion of our capacities, we have learned to ply Smith’s model and exploit it to create wealth as measured by another construct, “financial capital”.  More…

1.       What makes neoclassical economics attractive? What are its strengths based on?

First issue to be discussed: Is it at all important to discuss alternative economic theories? Why not use a more direct approach to present environmental and other problems followed by proposals for action?

Sustainability issues can no doubt be approached in many ways but I am eager to point to approaches that for different reasons are too often avoided by more or less influential actors. I think that we need to challenge the mental maps of actors in different categories, be they business leaders, university professors, politicians, representatives of Civil Society Organizations or others. More…

I do think that “the reason why”, we “are still in the political defensive”, lies – in so far it is a cognitive and not just a power problem – in the fact that we have not dug deep enough in our own questions. We are not up against a body of ideas which are open to criticism and argument, we are facing a structured power machine of academic reproduction which is perpetuating the hegemony of neoclassical economics and neoliberal political consultancy. The “weaknesses of neo-liberal ideology” and “the deficits of neoclassical economics” may be “obvious” to extra-academic common-sense – which is doubtful, as they seem to be even more deeply entrenched in the media than in the economic faculties. They are, in fact, invisible from inside their respective academic and ‘think tank’ fields. To fight against this power machine mere “Wissenschaftskritik” (critique of established science) will not be sufficient. The very construction of the social, economic, political and cultural disciplines will have to be addressed and reorganised by a broad alliance of critical forces – including the new fields of studies emerging from the system critical social movements (ranging from critical Marxism to various kinds of subaltern studies – ecological, feminist, anti-racist). More…

The work of Professor Peter Söderbaum has inspired many, which the coming workshop is proving. I am grateful to Professor Söderbaum for fostering the openness to conduct a dialogue among existing paradigms and an open-minded treatment of the subject matter, that inspires my own research. I would like to address and highlight four of the particularly appealing and original aspects of Professor Söderbaum’s message:
Connecting sustainability economics (“economics plays a key role in attempts to get closer to a sustainable society” (Söderbaum, 2007: 205)) with the political and the ethical (and ideology more broadly). The extent of the intertwining of these elements is still underestimated not only within economics circles but also in my own field of environmental ethics.

However, More…

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