top of page
  • damariszehner

Utopia Revisited: Economics Discussion Forum


It's been a while since we've had a discussion forum. Here is your chance. The goal for this one is to offer one drastic change in our economic system that you think would address one or several pressing problems. We are following Thomas More's example in his classic Utopia. "Utopia" means "no place," so it's evident that More was recommending imagination, not immediate practical reform. As a consequence, his thoughts about a good society are still fresh and relevant 500 years later, in a way that legislative bills or specific reforms wouldn't be. That kind of imagination is what I'm looking for here.


There are a few rules:

1. Do NOT offer an explanation for how to implement your change. Just state it. Spending too much time trying to shoehorn your idea into our present dysfunctional systems will only discourage creative thinking. At some point, of course, we should move from the philosophical to the practical, but this is not that point.

2. Do explain what problem your solution would address and what impact you think it would have.

3. Try to keep your comments to one or two paragraphs!

4. You may not say "That wouldn't work" about your own or other's posts.


I'll start with my own:


I'd like to see every job get paid the exact same amount. It would be a generous living wage, but it would mean that lawyers and nannies, chief executive officers and trash collectors would all get the same pay. People who want to be artists or teachers could now afford to, and no one would become a doctor or lawyer who didn't want to. It would force society to consider what jobs are essential to our survival and to ask itself why farmers make less than advertising executives. This reform would also imply that training for all jobs would be affordable or free, since one current justification for paying doctors more, for example, is that they had to spend more on education. (Somehow no one makes that same argument for professors of philosophy.) One objection to this is that without financial incentives, some jobs wouldn't be done at all, but actually the most unattractive jobs currently get paid the least and are still filled. Nonetheless, there might have to be occasional non-monetary incentives to insure all jobs get done.


175 views17 comments

Recent Posts

See All

17 commentaires


damariszehner
27 févr. 2020

Peter.bickerton -- I agree; I'd like to see a move in that direction. Not everyone would have to grow food, since some people may be doing other time-consuming but essential tasks for their community, but on the whole, food production should definitely be more local.

J'aime

peter.bickerton
27 févr. 2020

A return to a truly local food economy. My idea is that every household is provided a parcel of land for household food production, as well as the time to maintain it. This would be done by providing each family a small plot land for a kitchen garden if they didn't already have it, e.g. if they live in an apartment. As well as giving people a shorter working day during spring and summer for planting and upkeep. This would be supplemented by time off in autumn to allow the harvest of crops. Tme off would be a universal allowance guaranteed to people and not be part of regular holiday allowance.


Households would then be provided the opportunity to get…


J'aime

djf
19 févr. 2020

“djf, I asked for one change. :-) If your one change is to use globalism to go local, I'm interested in what you mean.”


This is one of the most important aspects of REAL Green and this revolves around acceptance driving action. The acceptance is we are in a systematic decline process both human and planetary. There will not be a fix for this. There are still solutions to some problems but overall, we are in a catch 22 carbon trap with path dependencies. This needs to be emphasized to understand the point of using the power of globalism to leave it. Harness consumerism and leverage the knowledge of the status quo world of globalism. Use these powerful forces to…


J'aime

damariszehner
19 févr. 2020

Intriguing ideas, everyone. Tpthoman, there's no question that universities have metastasized beyond their proper function. Most training can and should take place outside of them. I guess I would still keep universities for more limited academic functions, but they wouldn't need to be the size of city-states with billions of dollars of infrastructure. If only we could sit in the marketplace, we wouldn't need buildings at all! I'm not sure that students in Minneapolis or Toronto would be enthusiastic about that plan, though.


Hrthoman, your idea about toll roads is an interesting approach to localism. The original function of interstates, which was to be arteries for defense and emergency management, would then be interfered with, but of course they hav…


J'aime

djf
18 févr. 2020

With economics I start with the assumption we are in a decline process on all levels including human intelligence. The reason human intelligence is in decline is noise not the aggregate amount of knowledge that is actually exploding. The wisdom that comes with the proper use of knowledge is in decline. The planet is obviously in decline along with climate. The human economic side is in decline with excessive debt and unfunded liabilities. The human system side is in decline with overshoot and demographic decline. This demographic decline is actually not so bad but is very disruptive to the economic model of growth but beneficial in regards to a mild degrowth that is very much needed. By demographic decline I…


J'aime
bottom of page