This new Advanced Economics class are about to embark on a journey that goes ‘Beyond Left and Right’. The first landmark we see is the ‘left’ verses ‘right’ tendencies or even extremes of the political spectrum and accompanying ways of thought. The second landmark coming into view is the different ways our mind functions, sometimes classified as left-brain and right-brain activity. Each session of ‘Beyond Left and Right’ will be a conversation centred on what lies beyond these and similar dichotomies.
An Idea called Growth
This term’s material takes as a starting point one of Keynes most prescient statements: “The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else”. In light of this, the question arises as to whether it is possible for a planet with seemingly limited resources to support a population that is driven by the imperative of growth. Just what do we mean by growth? And, what does it mean in terms of the Climate Emergency, an expanding level of global debt and, indeed, the whole notion of a world beyond growth.
You are invited to join an Advanced Economics group that will probe our ideas about growth and what they may portend for the future.
Our economic arrangements should have the aim of providing freedom and prosperity for all. Our political, legal and financial institutions should be key supports for achieving that aim. At present that is unfortunately quite often not the case. This Advanced Economics course will look at some examples of how injustice has crept into the global financial landscape and distorted our economy so that for increasing numbers of people, freedom and prosperity have become more elusive. The examples will take us to many different places around the world, emphasising how increasingly interconnected economic and financial affairs have become; a fact which presents its own challenges in seeking remedies.
Next term's advanced economics invitation is: "To explore the basis of Good Economics based upon Justice through simple practical precepts which may be applied to everyday life - based upon four simple diagrams which have been used in the study of Economics with Justice in the School for many decades."
A new map of the Economic world
This term the Group’s endeavour has been to try and approach the broad subject of political economy with the innocence of a child, asking questions which are normally taken for granted in academic circles. For example:
- What would be the effect of considering the complete field of human activity, which includes, but is not limited to, paid work?
- Is there a just way of spreading happiness, health and wellbeing?
- What methods are found to measure quality of life rather than just quantity of production? How can the ‘production boundary’ be redrawn?
- What are the essentials of vital wellbeing as opposed to wealth?
- Is it true that the only way we can raise our standard of living is by increasing productivity? Is productivity a useful concept anyway?
- How can credit be earned, and is it the same as ‘capital’?
The idea was to draw a new map of the real economy and using it to explore old questions and quandaries in new ways.
Next term has not been fully discussed with the Saturday group, but is likely to be a continuation of the theme 'A fresh look at Economics with Justice'