Economists: the Dumbest Folks Around
I admire people whose understanding is so natural as to be simplistic to the point it offers nothing but peace and tranquility if followed. Does that make sense? I heard one such person on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now broadcast Friday morning, the day after Thanksgiving. This man, Manfred Max-Neef, is an Economist. He teaches Economics at U Cal Berkeley. I listened in amazement (attentively like a wolf listening for the stir of prey) to this man passionately spieling off his knowledge of the economic situation in our civilized nation (in our civilized world) and his warning us (the world, not just the USA) as to how stupid we are becoming as understanders . We have an abundance of knowledge--knowledge that has advanced through scientific methods over thousands of years--scientifically deduced models (the sciences including the pseudo-sciences of which Economics is one). Like Max-Neef says, we all have the "truth" (understanding) of what needs to be done. We all know, including President Obama and even a dumbass numbskull like Larry Summers or an out-and-out traitor like Unka Dick(less) Cheney, the "truth" of our situations and the ultimate points on the continuum they will position us.
...and let me just stop by the roadside here and remind every one that the Korean War was never "ended" in the sense of a finalized treaty in terms of declaring that war over and South Korea this and North Korea that. That war is still going on--that it is no longer a visible war (except over the past week it looks as though these natural brothers and sisters are going at it again thanks to US intervention, I'm sure) is due to the fact that Manfred Max-Neef says we are all STUPID, especially the most educated of us, that in spite of all the knowledge we have that is telling us we'd better CHANGE our ways or we as a species are doomed, we still go down the same merry cow trails in spite of knowing that a broadband of informational highways is now open to all of us--and certainly there is plenty of evidence that all indications are that the world as we all grew up knowing it is dissolving right before our very eyes. It's a Humpty-Dumpty situation, to put it in understandable fairy tale terms.
Check it out: Greek's economy has collapsed. Ireland's economy has collapsed. Spain and Portugal's economies are on the verge of collapse. The Euro has fallen below $1.34 for the first time since it was introduced and the Euro Union was made the Big Daddy of Europe. Greece started the trend (remember the Athens Olympics and how devastating they were on the Greek economy?)--the weakest economies in the Euro Union failing first to be followed by the mightier ones, too. I mean, how much bigger do the letters of the handwriting on the wall have to be before we can translate them into sense (understanding) in our numbed skulls?
Max-Neef says even though we have all of this knowledge, we foolishly keep ignoring its "truths," its alarming warnings, by continuing to follow fundamentalist paths that are so outmoded. He blames this ignorance on our colleges and universities. He says our colleges and universities are still following 19th Century paths--cow trails in an advanced knowledge so vast it needs the broadband highways of the Internet (of a high-speed calculating nature) to travel on--cow trails made obsolete and fundamentally now counterproductive in terms of human (humanitarian) progress with its abuse of natural laws and orders under whose directives the planet earth swirls on in its infinite suave and beautifully timed way. Instead of using our knowledge to learn how to live unified and compatibly on this earth, we've used it to challenge Nature--to the point where most of us consider the earth our enemy--religions giving control of the planet to its most fantastic devious gods, fairies, demons, witches, devils--all of whom live underground and arise out of the earth to post detours in our march toward those Seven Cities of Gold that have so fascinated our spoiled brat ancestors, our dumbass peasant forebears who submitted humbly before tyrant kings and queens and judges and priests who--and I can trace it through studying Mesopotamian history--one day decided they needed to declare themselves of a divine order [Note: The Daily Growler in our blog list have a link to the Gilgamesh--the daddy of Mesopotamian Books of Kings and Kings Lists--the Middle Eastern arising of the divinity of a Power Elite] and not bound by the rules of human secularism.
To show you how outmoded we are with our ideals and our models and our fundamentalisms, check out the coming royal wedding between the vulgar Prince William (when he was a young man his father was going out into a muddy field and fucking Camilla Parker Bowles while his mother was traipsing about the royal stables taking horsey lessons from captains of the queen's guard--wow, what a wonderful family background this totally outrageous little fop of a privileged asshole has) and his gold-digging commoner live-in off-and-on girlfriend. Watch the commercial American media give this farce of a British comedy top billing (simultaneously: the same news broadcast at the very same time it's the lead story on every other channel) 24/7--yes, the golden-parachuted media will be there with their latest hi-tech transmission equipment and their top-prize ex-cheerleader lady commentators showing the splendor of this royal fop wedding that will cost the collapsing British economy several worthless millions of Euros. I mean, come on, how idiotically 19th Century is all this royal bullshit (Victorian in its decadence)? Jose Ortega y Gasset warned us in the 1930s (in Revolt of the Masses) about sticking to 19th-Century fundamentals and not bringing all we learned in the best of those years into the 20th Century--something our technologies did but not our education system, that from which comes our philosophies and inspirational-type directions and our elementary sciences--and definitely not our Power Elite--not our 19th-Century industrialists who started all this individualism and competitive market bullshit and growing market bullshit that has led to this global economy that is as Max-Neef says a dehumanized economy--an economy of greed and egoism rather than one of humanitarian beneficence.
Max-Neef Friday morning with Amy Goodman talked about being in a jungle village in his native Chile, a village of muddy paths and trails and huts and homes made out of leaves and timber limbs and trunks, and seeing a man standing barefoot in the mud going about struggling to earn enough to support a wife and 9 children and a grandmother. And Max-Neef said he looked at that man and he thought about all the knowledge he possessed through his doctorates and studying and teaching at a prestigious US university and, yet, he said, with all his theories and understandings and projections and predictions he still didn't have the language to make this barefoot man understand the knowledge he'd obtained from growing up privileged (advanced) in terms of his family in Valparaiso, Chile, and its cultural background (originally German), and traveling and coming to the US and studying in universities around the world. Max-Neef tailended his conversation with Amy by saying he recently was staying in a hotel in the South of Chile, a region he said was famous for its dairy farms and dairy products, especially its butter, and he noticed the butter he was served in the hotel came from New Zealand. That, he said, was the ruinous stupidity of a Global marketplace way of thinking (understanding)--sending butter from New Zealand thousands of kilometers over to the South of Chile that already has a considerably better diary products; thus driving local markets into the ground with butter transported thousands of miles because it's cheaper that way.
Yet, the Power Elite has ordered us into this wrong-way following of what We the People of the US consider our hidebound way of life--the American way; the Democratic way; the way of our aristocratic White Power Elitists White National Founders, like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, and then coming on down the line with our 2nd-rate actor/general/rich-boy presidents who are put into office by the possessors of the asses they have to kiss if they want to experience the American Dream, what is turning out to be a nightmare for the majority of us! The sleeping pill industry is one of our billion-dollar-a-year industries; right up there with antipsychotics and Lipitor and weight-loss schemes. Toxic solutions to our diseases, and I say it's time to drop a toxic bug bomb on our pestilent-ridden economies. Inflation. Deflation. Choose one or the other and learn to live with it. In the meantime, enjoy the Power Elite living the lives the rest of us can only dream in nightmares about living.
Ah, Democracy, ain't it great! Too bad the United Snakes isn't a democracy.
for The Daily Growler
"Max-Neef and his colleagues have developed a taxonomy of human needs and a process by which communities can identify their "wealths" and "poverties" according to how these needs are satisfied.
"Human Scale Development is defined as "focused and based on the satisfaction of fundamental human needs, on the generation of growing levels of self-reliance, and on the construction of organic articulations of people with nature and technology, of global processes with local activity, of the personal with the social, of planning with autonomy, and of civil society with the state." (Max-Neef et al, 1987:12)
"The main contribution that Max-Neef makes to the understanding of needs is the distinction made between needs and satisfiers. Human needs are seen as few, finite and classifiable (as distinct from the conventional notion that "wants" are infinite and insatiable). Not only this, they are constant through all human cultures and across historical time periods. What changes over time and between cultures is the way these needs are satisfied. It is important that human needs are understood as a system - i.e. they are interrelated and interactive. There is no hierarchy of needs (apart from the basic need for subsistence or survival) as postulated by Western psychologists such as Maslow, rather, simultaneity, complementarity and trade-offs are features of the process of needs satisfaction.
"Max-Neef classifies the fundamental human needs as: subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, recreation (in the sense of leisure, time to reflect, or idleness), creation, identity and freedom. Needs are also defined according to the existential categories of being, having, doing and interacting, and from these dimensions, a 36 cell matrix is developed which can be filled with examples of satisfiers for those needs."