นักเศรษฐศาสตร์ถาม: เศรษฐกิจเพื่ออะไร

อ่าน: 4243

นักเศรษฐศาสตร์ Tim Jackson จากอังกฤษ ไปพูดเรื่อง Economic Reality Check ที่ TED เป็นการบรรยายที่ยาวยี่สิบนาที

I want to talk to you today about prosperity, about our hopes for a shared and lasting prosperity. And not just us, but the two billion people worldwide who are still chronically undernourished. And hope actually is at the heart of this. ... And I think we are a clever species sometimes. But I think we should also just check the numbers, take a reality check here.

So I want you to imagine a world, in 2050, of around nine billion people, all aspiring to Western incomes, Western lifestyles. And I want to ask the question: how far and how fast would be have to move? How clever would we have to be? How much technology would we need in this world to deliver our carbon targets? … It’s a 130-fold improvement, and that is 10 times further and faster than anything we’ve ever achieved in industrial history.

It’s a story about us, people, being persuaded to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need to create impressions that won’t last on people we don’t care about.

Here’s another one — completely different one: Why is it that we don’t do the blindingly obvious things we should do to combat climate change, very, very simple things like buying energy-efficient appliances, putting in efficient lights, turning the lights off occasionally, insulating our homes? These things save carbon, they save energy, they save us money. So is it that, though they make perfect economic sense, we don’t do them?

What is the objective? “What is the objective of the consumer?” Mary Douglas asked in an essay on poverty written 35 years ago. “It is,” she said, “to help create the social world and find a credible place in it.” That is a deeply humanizing vision of our lives, and it’s a completely different vision than the one that lies at the heart of this economic model. So who are we? Who are these people? Are we these novelty-seeking, hedonistic, selfish individuals? Or might we actually occasionally be something like the selfless altruist depicted in Rembrandt’s lovely, lovely sketch here? Well psychology actually says there is a tension, a tension between self-regarding behaviors and other regarding behaviors. And these tensions have deep evolutionary roots. So selfish behavior is adaptive in certain circumstances – fight or flight.

But other regarding behaviors are essential to our evolution as social beings. And perhaps even more interesting from our point of view, another tension between novelty-seeking behaviors and tradition or conservation. Novelty is adaptive when things are changing and you need to adapt yourself. Tradition is essential to lay down the stability to raise families and form cohesive social groups. So here, all of a sudden, we’re looking at a map of the human heart. And it reveals to us, suddenly, the crux of the matter. What we’ve done is we’ve created economies. We’ve created systems, which systematically privilege, encourage, one narrow quadrant of the human soul and left the others unregarded. And in the same token, the solution becomes clear, because this isn’t, therefore, about changing human nature. It isn’t, in fact, about curtailing possibilities. It is about opening up. It is about allowing ourselves the freedom to become fully human, recognizing the debt and the breadth of the human psyche and building institutions to protect Rembrandt’s fragile altruist within.

So let me come back, with this sense of hope, to the two billion people still trying to live each day on less than the price of a skinny latte from the cafe next door. What can we offer those people? It’s clear that we have a responsibility to help lift them out of poverty. It’s clear that we have a responsibility to make room for growth where growth really matters in those poorest nations. And it’s also clear that we will never achieve that unless we’re capable of redefining a meaningful sense of prosperity in the richer nations, a prosperity that is more meaningful and less materialistic than the growth-based model. So this is not just a Western post-materialist fantasy. In fact, an African philosopher wrote to me, when “Prosperity Without Growth” was published, pointing out the similarities between this view of prosperity and the traditional African concept of ubuntu. Ubuntu says, “I am because we are.” Prosperity is a shared endeavor. Its roots are long and deep. Its foundations, I’ve tried to show, exist already, inside each of us. So this is not about standing in the way of development. It’s not about overthrowing capitalism. It’s not about trying to change human nature. What we’re doing here is we’re taking a few simple steps towards an economics fit for purpose. And at the heart of that economics, we’re placing a more credible, more robust, and more realistic vision of what it means to be human.

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2 ความคิดเห็น

  • #1 BM.chaiwut ให้ความคิดเห็นเมื่อ 10 October 2010 เวลา 7:42

    อ่านพอรู้เรื่อง อ่านได้สักครึ่งหนึ่ง ก็ค่อยๆ ลากยาว แล้วก็ไปอ่านช่วงสุดท้าย…

    มีใครพูดไว้ก็จำไม่ได้ ทำนองว่า “เมื่อพระผู้เป็นเจ้าสร้างมนุษย์ขึ้นมา ก็อย่ากังวลว่าพระผู้เป็นเจ้าจะหาสถานที่ให้… หรือจัดการเรื่องนี้ไม่ได้”

    อ่านๆ ไป พอใกล้จะถึงครึ่งหนึ่ง ก็เกิดความคิดว่า นักเศรษฐศาสตร์คนนี้ สำหรับความคิดนี้ ได้ค่าความคิดทั้งเงินและหรือกล่องไปเท่าไหร่อย่างไรบ้าง…

    …………………… (เรื่องอื่นๆ ที่คิดจะบ่นด้วยสาเหตุจากเรื่องราวในบันทึกนี้)

    เจริญพร

  • #2 Logos ให้ความคิดเห็นเมื่อ 10 October 2010 เวลา 19:19
    จากหนังเรื่อง the Sound of Music นางเอก Maria พูดว่า “When Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.” ความหมายคือทุกปัญหา มีทางออกเสมอครับ

    ศาสตราจารย์ Tim Jackson ท่านนี้ เขียนหนังสือ “Prosperity without Growth” หมายถึงความมั่งคั่งโดยไม่ต้องเติบโต(และเบียดเบียนผู้อื่น) ซึ่งมีปราชญ์ชาวอัฟริกันท่านหนึ่ง เขียนมาบอกว่าแนวคิดนี้ ตรงกับคำภาษาถิ่นอัฟริกันคำหนึ่งคือคำว่า Ubuntu ซึ่งมีความหมายลึกซึ้งนะครับ


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