This is what we found interesting from the current issue of the “The Economist” (July 21st – 27th July 2012).
Modern economies aspire for more and more but get less and less.
In my last column about this newspaper, I posed the question as to why its contents are still informed by the economic concepts of the latter part of the previous century. I also urged they include new and more relevant concepts because the economic climate of this century has changed. As Ron Paul says, “Our central bankers are intellectually bankrupt”. Their mode of thinking being followed by us may be the cause of our 21st century misery.
There are two articles in the issue that may need us to re-think these old concepts. The first article is called “Schumpeter| Stephen Covey” (p56), and the second “Money and the markets, Insatiable longing” (p67). The second article is about two new books that probe the limits of capitalism. The first book is by Robert Skidelskdy and Edward Skidelskdy called “How Much is Enough? Money and the Good Life” and the title of the second book is “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets”.
Most policy makers, and economists think that economies have suffered a cyclical downtrend and with the right fiscal policies growth will return. Others, think that this is not cyclical but “moral: a love of money, markets and material things” (67). In the rich world, the modern economic problem, the Skidelskdys say “is how to live well, emit plenty, not how to survive amidst scarcity” (67). We are all chasing ways to keep the GDP growing forever. And this does not take into account “The blessing of nature, or leisure” (67).
“Humanity has become insatiable in short” says the book by Michael Sandal called “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets”. “Even if just now, the west could do with more, not less, GDP, the pursuit of wealth for its own sake is folly”.
Extracts from Stephen Covey (page 56):
- “Mr. Covey’s message was old-fashioned. So old-fashioned, in fact, that it seemed fresh and exciting when “7 Habits” was first published in 1989. At a time when other management gurus were obsessed with how to build a better organization, Mr. Covey argued that personal character, purpose and self-discipline were what mattered.”
- “Mr. Covey was influenced by Peter Drucker, the king of management theorists, who wrote in 1967 that “effectiveness….is a habit”.
- “The seven habits are as follows. “Be proactive.” “Begin with the end in mind.” “Put first things first” (oddly, this is third on the list). “Think win-win.” “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” “Synergise”: learn to work with others to benefit of all parties. “Sharpen the saw”: keep yourself physically, mentally and spiritually refreshed through such things as exercise, reading, prayer and good works”.
- “Perhaps Mr. Covey’s most appealing principle was that people should balance life and work”.
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