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Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2005 at 11:23 AM
The conventional economy starts from the assumption that a rational economic actor always sees himself in competition to protect his own interests..This model corresponds to the reptile brain and a territorial conduct.. Cooperative being does not oppose nature..
ECONOMISTS AND THEIR IDEOLOGIES
A False Anthropology Underlies Economics
[This article published in: Zeit-Fragen Nr. 12 3/21/2005 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.zeit-fragen.ch.]
pg. “We need unconditional economic growth to solve our problems,” we hear again and again in the media. So-called “famous economists” speak, economists who know something very exactly. Not long ago, “one of the leading regional economists of our country,” the emeritus Basel professor Rene L. Frey in an east-Swiss journal urged without flinching the emptying of marginal regions because they hinder “economic growth”. He regards “migration” as something “positive”. He ignores the Swiss constitution that starts from the solidarity of all Swiss citizens. “A Switzerland of large regions would be ideal,” he declared. “Certain valleys should be kept in a state of neglect.” He justified his extreme demands for planned urbanization with “statistics” and “average values.” The ruined eastern bloc states would have really enjoyed this uprooting of population sectors.
Nevertheless there is a sign of hope. The scientificness of economists is questioned more and more. An impressive article by Hazel Henderson in the February edition of Le Monde diplomatique is an example of this questioning.
In the past, Nobel Prizes were awarded to economists of the Chicago school who proposed mathematical models for speculations on the stock exchange. Most economic models were “shrouded in very complex calculations.” The underlying inflexible ideology was veiled. The critics of the “Nobel Prize” see this in the anthropology that the conventional economy assumes. The conventional economy starts from the assumption that a “rational economic actor” always sees himself in competition with others to protect his own interests – out of a deep fear of receiving too little for life.
Hazel Henderson, the author of the article, criticizes: “This model corresponds to a reptile brain and a territorial conduct from our most primitive past.” As an alternative, Henderson refers to the neuroscientist Paul Zak from Claremont University who connected the “human ability to trust others with the reproduction hormone Oxytoxin. Darwin also by no means saw the decisive factor in evolution in competition among one another. On the contrary, “he understood altruism as a factor of human success.” How else could cities have arisen? Many persons, Henderson says, enjoy carrying for others and sharing with them. Thus the cooperative being does not contradict human nature.
Henderson compares the calling of the economist with that of the physician: “When a doctor makes his patient more ill, he can be immediately sued for violating the duty of care, the bad counsel of an economist can make whole countries sick. But there’s no punishment for that.”
What would the “famous” economist and urbanization fanatic Rene Frey say about this?
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