economy

One statistic makes clear the demand placed on the earth by our economic system: every day the worldwide economy burns an amount of energy the planet required 10,000 days (27 years) to create.

Entrepreneurship rests on a theory of economy and society. The theory sees change as normal and indeed as healthy. And it sees the major task in society - and especially in the economy - as doing something different rather than doing better what is already being done. That is basically what Say, two hundred years ago, meant when he coined the term entrepreneur. It was intended as a manifesto and as a declaration of dissent: the entrepreneur upsets and disorganizes. As Joseph Schumpeter formulated it, his task is creative destruction.

It is the increasingly important responsibility (of management) to create the capital that alone can finance tomorrow’s jobs. In a modern economy the main source of capital formation is business profits.

Productive work in today's society and economy is work that applies vision, knowledge and concepts -- work that is based on the mind rather than the hand.

The world political system is till based on the concept of the national sovereign state. For the first time therefore, in three hundred years economy and sovereignty are becoming divorced from each other.

Let me say again that the relationship is asymmetrical: there’s no democracy without a market economy, but you can have a market economy without democracy.

But we don’t have an example of a democratic society existing in a socialist economy – which is the only real alternative to capitalism in the modern world.

The simplicity of nature is not to be measured by that of our conceptions. Infinitely varied in its effects, nature is simple only in its causes, and its economy consists in producing a great number of phenomena, often very complicated, by means of a small number of general laws.

From the point of view of political economy these propositions are irrefutable; and Malthus, who has formulated them with such alarming exactness, is secure against all reproach. From the point of view of the conditions of social science, these same propositions are radically false, and even contradictory.

A free-enterprise economy depends only on markets, and according to the most advanced mathematical macroeconomic theory, markets depend only on moods: specifically, the mood of the men in the pinstripes, also known as the Boys on the Street. When the Boys are in a good mood, the market thrives; when they get scared or sullen, it is time for each one of us to look into the retail apple business.

But the economic meltdown should have undone, once and for all, the idea of poverty as a personal shortcoming or dysfunctional state of mind. The lines at unemployment offices and churches offering free food includes strivers as well as slackers, habitual optimists as well as the chronically depressed. When and if the economy recovers we can never allow ourselves to forget how widespread our vulnerability is, how easy it is to spiral down toward destitution.

There seems to be a vicious cycle at work here, making ours not just an economy but a culture of extreme inequality. Corporate decision makers, and even some two-bit entrepreneurs like my boss at The Maids, occupy an economic position miles above that of the underpaid people whose labor they depend on. For reasons that have more to do with class — and often racial — prejudice than with actual experience, they tend to fear and distrust the category of people from which they recruit their workers. Hence the perceived need for repressive management and intrusive measures like drug and personality testing. But these things cost money — $20,000 or more a year for a manager, $100 a pop for a drug test, and so on — and the high cost of repression results in ever more pressure to hold wages down. The larger society seems to be caught up in a similar cycle: cutting public services for the poor, which are sometimes referred to collectively as the 'social wage,' while investing ever more heavily in prisons and cops. And in the larger society, too, the cost of repression becomes another factor weighing against the expansion or restoration of needed services. It is a tragic cycle, condemning us to ever deeper inequality, and in the long run, almost no one benefits but the agents of repression themselves.

In recent years, long-established expectations about doing business have given way under the pressures of the modern economy. Too many companies are driven more by the need to ensure that investors get good quarterly returns. Too often, this means that they view most employees as costs, not investments, and that they expend less concern on job training, employee profit sharing, family-friendly policies, shared decision-making, or even fair pay raises. Even workers' jobs may be sacrificed as executive seek short-term profits by moving production to countries where wages are lower and environmental and other regulations less stringent. Instead of We're all in this together, the message from the top is frequently, you're on your own. The growing inequality of incomes has serious implications for children. America's turbo-charged economy has produced cheaper and better goods and greater efficiency, but it also has created serious social dislocations that undermine family and community values.

The greatest speakers have usually been remarkable for the abundance of their ideas and their economy of words.

From the time of Aristotle it had been said that man is a social animal: that human beings naturally form communities. I couldn't accept it. The whole of history and pre-history is against it. The two dreadful world wars we have recently been through, and the gearing of our entire economy today for defensive war belie it. Man's loathsome cruelty to man is his most outstanding characteristic; it is explicable only in terms of his carnivorous and cannibalistic origin. Robert Hartmann pointed out that both rude and civilised peoples show unspeakable cruelty to one another. We call it inhuman cruelty; but these dreadful things are unhappily truly human, because there is nothing like them in the animal world. A lion or tiger kills to eat, but the indiscriminate slaughter and calculated cruelty of human beings is quite unexampled in nature, especially among the apes. They display no hostility to man or other animals unless attacked. Even then their first reaction is to run away.

Ecological footprint analysis has gained considerable momentum around the world as both heuristic device and practical method for assessing sustainability. This success derives in part from methodological strengths of EFA that are both scientifically well founded and reflect thinking people’s intuitive sense of reality. On the technical/scientific side, EFA has several qualities that reinforce its credibility as a sustainability indicator. The method:
acknowledges that humans are biophysical entities that make constant metabolic demands on their supportive ecosystems and that all our manufactured capital and related cultural artefacts impose a parallel and much larger industrial metabolism on the ecosphere;
recognizes the crucial role of natural capital and natural income (biophysical stocks and flows) in economic development and sustainability;
accepts that the economy is a fully contained, growing, dependent, sub-system of the non-growing ecosphere;
recognizes the second law of thermodynamics as the ultimate governor of material transformations and economic activity (Georgescu-Roegen 1971, Daly 1991) and that beyond a certain (optimal) scale, the growth and maintenance human enterprise must necessarily accelerate the entropic disordering and dissipation of the ecosphere;
is closely related conceptually to Odum’s the embodied energy (emergy) analyses (see Hall 1995) and the ‘environmental space’ concept of the Sustainable Europe Campaign (Carley and Spapens 1998).
accounts for both population size and resource consumption in estimating of appropriated ecosystem area. This aligns EFA closely with Catton’s (1980) concept of human ‘load’ (population times per capita consumption);
corresponds closely to and incorporates all the factors in Ehrlich’s and Holdren’s (1971) well-known definition of human impact on the environment: I = PAT, where ‘I’ is impact, ‘P’ is population, ‘A’ is affluence (i.e., level of consumption) and ‘T’ is a technology scalar.

A seller-sovereign economy includes sellers who are monopolistic or oligopolistic without being confronted by the ultimate consumers who are organized in monopsonistic or ologopsonistic modes. It is an economy where enormous skill, artifice, and resources are used in getting consumers to buy what the sellers want to sell, notwithstanding the availability of more efficient, safe, economical, durable, and effective alternatives, including that of buying nothing at all.

There is a two-tier economy where the top 10% is doing quite well, the top 1% spectacularly. But the top 1% of the richest people in this country have financial wealth equal to the combined 95% of the American people. That's a very unhealthy inequality which is even troubling Alan Greenspan.

We don't measure whether an economy is developing. We just measure whether companies are selling more, whether inventories are up or down, not whether the health, safety and economic well-being of people are being advanced.

Why do you have to stimulate the economy when there's huge unused capacity, when there's plenty of capital around, and when interest rates are at historic lows?