Posted by Ron Robins on April 12, 2015
“A theme of particular interest is understanding what might be possible in advanced economies in the absence of economic growth and reductions in throughput.
Would these economies collapse without growth? Would mass unemployment result? Could the existing institutions — in particular, financial institutions — survive without growth, and if not, what sort of changes might be required? What would be the implications for economic growth of strict limits on throughput?”
—Weekend read: The trouble with growth, by Peter A. Victor and Tim Jackson, April 11, 2015, GreenBiz, U.S.A.
Commentary: Ron Robins
There’s no doubt — barring the economic extraction of resources from other heavenly bodies — that Earth’s resources are limited and that for economic growth to continue indefinitely is impossible unless Earth’s resources are used far more efficiently. If we’re to avoid wars and famines where countries and peoples plunder each others resources, there has to be a marked change in consumer behavior. How can this happen? Will scare stories and killer climate events cause the change in consciousness? Perhaps so, but a more humane way is best.
And the nature of that humane response is for governments, educational institutions, and companies encourage changes in individual and collective consciousness the like of which I’ve written about in many of my posts that include: The Missing Ingredient In Economics — Consciousness!; Cultural Creatives to Dominate in the Age of Enlightened Economics; and ‘Voluntary Simplicity’ Brings Higher Consciousness into Economics.
Posted in Consciousness/Psychology, Economics, Environment, GDP Alternatives, News, Commentary, Spiritual | Tagged: cultural creatives, Economics, enlightened economics, GDP, higher consciousness, voluntary simplicity | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ron Robins on February 28, 2015
“The average poor person has about two and a half times the level of painful emotions as the average rich person… the decline in painful emotions with [increasing] income, both on average and at the mood-disorder level, is actually caused by changes in income. This means depression is a consequence of poverty. Further, the causal effect of income on emotional pain is much stronger at low incomes than high ones… Opponents of shifting the tax burden back to high earners often argue that doing so will hurt economic growth. We needn’t be too worried. Compared to the past 35 years, U.S. economic growth was actually higher under the more progressive tax regime of 1950 to 1980.”
— Can income redistribution help fight depression? By David Clingingsmith, February 25, 2015, Corporate Knights, Canada
Commentary: Ron Robins
This is an important study. However, I’d argue that the real problem of poverty and its deleterious effects for psychological health relative to those with higher incomes, can be reduced with poor people participating in the financial benefits that accrue with corporate ownership. (And I’m not talking about socialism or communism!)
I believe an enlightened approach would be for the wealthy — and for corporations themselves — in each country to entrust a certain percentage of their profits in the form of company stock to a ‘sovereign wealth fund.’ Over time, some of the dividends and stock gains could be cashed and used to directly increase the incomes of the poor. Higher taxes for the rich (which is becoming popular), advocated in the above article, could be introduced now but would probably have to be quite onerous to significantly improve the income of the poor and ameliorate their emotional distress to any great degree.
Furthermore, as it’s proving in France which imposed very high taxes on high incomes, the wealthy become very adept in finding ways to avoid the higher taxes — and many even moving themselves to other jurisdictions!
Posted in Consciousness/Psychology, Economics, Labour Issues, News, Commentary | Tagged: Economics, enlightened economics, higher consciousness, incomes, poor, psychology, taxation, taxes | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ron Robins on February 17, 2015
“If members of Congress are to be believed, unless the president’s trade negotiator includes strict, enforceable prohibitions on policies to intentionally hold down the value of currencies, any completed trade accord will die on Capitol Hill. But, administration officials say, demanding the inclusion of such prohibitions would kill the trade deals before they were completed… Some 230 members of the House have pledged in writing to oppose future trade deals without action on currency, more than enough to stop the president’s agenda.”
— Currency Battle Is Tethered to Obama Trade Agenda , by Jonathan Weisman, February 16, 2015, The New York Times, U.S.A.
Commentary: Ron Robins
Many astute observers in the financial world are deeply concerned about ‘currency wars.’ I share their concern. Furthermore, I have long argued that central bank activities such QE and interest rate manipulations — though seemingly a relatively easy antidote to immediate economic ills — eventually lead to the breakdown of the very economic system it seeks to preserve. And one of the main reasons for that will be their knock-on effects on currencies.
To gain economic advantage or even just to maintain one’s present standing, nations are being forced into QE of various types as well as manipulating lower their interest rates, thereby increasing monetary aggregates and forcing down their currency values. Competitive currency wars are ensuing and economic distress is spreading. In the end, most, if not all nations will be forced to agree to abandon QE and interest rate manipulations.
Nature itself, is cyclic. So it seems is economic thinking with regard to manipulating or not economic activities. At this time the cyclic pendulum’s return to either truly free enlightened trading between nations, or to one that’s highly restrictive, is in our future. I believe in and hope for the former!
Posted in Economics, Monetary Policy | Tagged: central banks, currency, higher consciousness, money supply, US Federal Reserve | Leave a Comment »