Rethinking Prosperity

Rethinking Prosperity

Maybe our thinking about prosperity needs radical reconfiguration. The Gross Domestic Product measures everything but what makes life worthwhile said Bobby Kennedy.

Unlike a chair, an idea can be shared by a whole people. Time for alternative economics, reducing working hours and work fetishism, exchanging roles and redefining work and for time sovereignty and resisting instrumental rationality normalizing the absurd (cf. Jurgen Habermas).

Harry Kravitz as a “buyout artist” gained $35 million a year or $100K a day for selling off parts of businesses and of course paid no tax. Elizabeth Warren and Joseph Stiglitz are teaching the nation that Warren Buffet should pay more tax than his secretary. Hedge fund and buyout artists are enjoying a guaranteed basic income – thanks to system myths, profit-making blindness and enforced conformity. Time for system change; the slow ones now will later be fast. changes life into an open door if we are not overwhelmed by anxiety.

Posted in Bob Dylan, Political Theory, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution, Reducing Working Hours | Leave a comment

No Redistribution Without the Social State and Distribution Debate Picks Up Speed

to read the translated articles by Norman Wagner and Matthais Schnetzer, visit

In Austria, 30% of the gross domestic product is spent on social services (not including education spending)… Since the 1990s, social security has been increasingly discussed as a financial burden and less as a social achievement… The irony is that the social state is the target of austerity measures in times of economic insecurity with high unemployment and rising poverty although it is then urgently necessary, The social state ensures that the income of persons impacted by a crisis like the current one will not fall enormously and purchasing power will not collapse. Expanding – not cutting – the social system is urgently necessary in the present situation.

With his book “Capital in the 21st Century,” Thomas Piketty has aroused a great international discussion on neoliberalism as an inequality machine and the dangers of patrimonial capitalism.

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The Inheritance of Inequality and Rethinking Growth

The economy exists for people, not vice versa. The economy should be a part of life, not a steamroller crushing self-determination and creativity. The economy should be embedded in society; society should not be embedded in the economy. Social and ecological reality should not be externalized or factored out but included in discussion and future planning. Thomas Piketty and alternative economics emphasize inequality and mass unemployment as dangers in late stage capitalism.

As lessons from the 2008 financial crisis, the financial sector must be shriveled and the public sector expanded. Market failure and state failure must be identified and confessed so errors are not repeated in the future. Profit and shareholder interest must be supplemented by sustainability and stakeholder interest. Quantitative growth must give way to qualitative growth, excess must yield to access and more to enough.

to read the translated articles “The Inheritance of Inequality and Rethinking Growth,” click on

Comment by drc2 on

What I noticed even in the midst of CAPITAL was the way the yarnball was being pulled apart by threads that could not just be trimmed to keep what we have going.

The Social State is really democracy. It requires wealth to serve the economy that serves a democracy rather than running a plutocracy over us in the name of ‘freedom.’ What it takes to get the wealth glut punctured so we can have our money back is not a reform, it is a revolution.

The fact that this establishment of encrusted wealth and power must yield has been denied by those inside it for a long time. They have had loads of clever theories to prove that more for them would result in some more for us so we should be grateful rather than resentful of them. And, as the established encrusted of the past, they have presumed a right to feast while others starve and to live while others die in a society, much less one that pretends to be about “liberty and justice, for all.”

The incentives within the bubble to believe in the bubble are as strong as ever, but the signs of wear and tear or downright delusion are showing up inside the bubble and not just from outside “the ideology.” We shall see, of course, because we are in this larger boat and have been working on our swimming skills for a while.

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From real capitalism to finance capitalism and (hopefully) back – the role of the navigation map by Stephan Schulmeister

From real capitalism to finance capitalism and (hopefully) back – the role of the navigation map by Stephan Schulmeister, Austrian economist, May 22, 2013

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New Economy and New Prosperity by Cordula Drautz

The idea that the economy must be embedded in the normative order of society underlay the whole political economy of classical authors around Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and Thomas Robert Malthus… In the current debate, there is a great chance to develop a new economic model…

High growth rates based on excessive debts and virtual speculation cycles are jointly responsible for financial and economic crises like the present crisis with fatal consequences for the real economy like the loss of thousands of jobs, social insecurity and de-stabilization… Is an economic system conceivable that need not grow or must grow differently and nevertheless can guarantee social prosperity, economic stability, job efficacy and ecological compatibility?

Economic structures that form the basis for social prosperity have become dysfunctional. The financial markets have expanded their original function and are now self-financed markets in which protection from risks has become itself a highly speculative business… Given its uncoupling from the real economic output, the necessity of a global framework regulating the financial markets and assigning a “serving” function to them is urgent.

to read Cordula Drautz’ 2010 article “New Economy and New Prosperity,” click on

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Video: John Paul Stevens on BookTV, 56 min

Video: John Paul Stevens on BookTV, 56 min, last broadcast on September 1, 2014

Justice John Paul Stevens was an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1975 to 2010. He was appointed by President Gerald Ford and was the second longest-service justice in the Court’s history, after Justice William Douglas, whom he watch the 56-minute interview with John Paul Stevens last broadcast on September 1, 2014, click on

After Words: Justice John Paul Stevens, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution,” hosted by Jeffrey Rosen, National Constitution Center

The recently-retired Supreme Court Justice, long considered among the liberal members of the Court, recommends six ways he believes the U.S. Constitution should be amended. His largest targets for reform are campaign finance, the death penalty, gerrymandering and the Second Amendment. He talks with Jeffrey Rosen, president of the National Constitution Center.

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Thomas Piketty’s 1-hour 2014 Presentation

to hear Thomas Piketty’s 1-hour 2014 presentation on inequality of incomes and assets, click on

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Free Trade Agreement TTIP Endangers Democracy

Free Trade Agreement TTIP Endangers Democracy

Investor courts of arbitration create an exclusive special right for foreign corporations. They could demand unlimited compensation when they see profits narrowed by democratic decisions. The lawsuits will be decided by economic lawyers changing roles as prosecutors, defendants and judges, not by independent courts.

Stopping the TTIP is crucial for preserving sovereignty, environmental justice and public sector jobs. Investor protection must not be allowed to trump environmental and labor regulations in a “parallel system” of justice.

You can read a 20-page “Alternative Trade Mandate” at

to read the translated articles by Christoph Bautz, Ursula Storost and Annette Sawatzki from August 2014, click on

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I Spend, Therefore I Am

I Spend, Therefore I Am by Edward Skidelsky

to read Edward Skidelsky’s review of Philip Roscoe’s book published January 21, 2014 in The Guardian, click on

I Spend, Therefore I Am is a splendid denunciation of the dismal science in the grand tradition of Dickens and Carlyle. Not only does economics embody a false image of man, claims Philip Roscoe; it remakes him according to that false image. It “brings into being the agent about whom it theorises: self-interested, calculative and even dishonest”. It has recast each of us as an “entrepreneur of the self”…

Two mechanisms are central to Roscoe’s account. The first is the incentive. Economists treat all human behaviour as responsive to monetary costs and benefits. “The typical economist believes the world has not yet invented a problem that he cannot fix if given a free hand to design the proper incentive scheme,” write Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner, authors of the bestselling Freakonomics. Roscoe agrees and argues that incentives have been disastrously influential, not least in justifying bankers’ bonuses. The trouble with monetary incentives is not that they don’t work – often they do, at least in the short term – but that they “crowd out” other, nobler sources of motivation: professional pride, institutional loyalty and public spirit. They bring into being the kind of person they presuppose, shrewd and mercenary. As popular wisdom has always known, if you treat people like knaves they will behave like knaves.

The other villain of Roscoe’s story is measurement. Scoring systems now exist for everything under the sun, including quality of life, intellectual achievement, sex appeal and other such intangibles. Embedded in governmental and corporate software, these systems shape the very conduct they claim to measure.

more at,,,,,, and

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The unconditional basic income – a social concept for Europe, 38pp

The time is right for alternative economics after the “money-out-of-nothing” phase. The financial markets must be shrivelled and the public sectors expanded. Profit-making is different than profit-maximizing. Economics as now taught is like brainwashing (cf. Christoph Thielemann). The neoliberal model is increasing profit, not investment (Nikolaus Krowell).

to read Christoph Keller’s 38-page Bachelor’s thesis “The Unconditional basic income – a social concept for Europe” at the University of Southern Denmark, May 23, 2011, click on


The social budgets in Western societies are exploding due to demographic changes and the interrelated pension entitlements. In addition to that, the social divide between rich and poor widens with increasing structural unemployment. The writing is on the wall, society needs nothing less than a new social contract. This paper questions whether an unconditional basic income fulfills the egalitarian aspirations of European nations and contributes to social justice and unity. On the basis of egalitarianism and social capital theory, the concept of an unconditional basic income is assessed against the backdrop of empirical European examples of the contemporary social division. It is concluded that a basic income scheme can serve as a tool, to significantly increase equality and social justice in society. The resultant detachment of income and employment certainly changes the inherited ways of reasoning. Preferably sooner than later, the ‘old’ thinking will need to be overcome, in order for societies and budgets to benefit.

more at,,,, and

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