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May 21, 2010

Comments

Oranjd

Perhaps the external measurement of economic performance matters less here than what is supposed to drive firms within a capitalist economy - profit maximisation, as you point out in Reclaiming the Firm - because the firms collectively must produce profits, it's not hard to see how easily General Motors could switch from producing cars to producing complex financial products. (And sadly, Credit Ratings Agencies were not delusional but collusional for exactly the same reason.) So the crisis is not of valuation as a process but of the legitimacy of that valuation. Governments being fearful of the judgements of ratings agencies is a form of legitimation without legitimacy.

Susan Butler

The trick is to sell quality rather than quantity of growth. There are ways of measuring this. The GDP (quantity-of-resource-through-put) should be thought of as a minimum steady-state dimension meant to support a pretty-much steady-state population, living on an equal and realistic renewable-resource-base. This sounds utopian I guess, but that's a measure of how dystopian our current thinking is. Greater talent, energy, and merit could be rewarded with higher quality access to collaborative projects aimed not at increasing resource use, but increasing the levels of knowledge, the arts, and cultural creativity in society. Of course no one wants to limit population or give up their 6-figure income; but that will happen eventually anyway. We simply can't grow quantitatively for ever on a finite planet; but we have unlimited potential to be creative, to grow, to evolve qualitatively. Great original, heart-of-the-matter thinking in this Crisis of Value piece.

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