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Archive for April 7th, 2017

Wakeup Time v4

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Dead fish clog the Rodrigo de Freitas lake in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Scientists claim that the fish were starved of oxygen because of pollution. A holistic approach would look closely at the environmental impacts - such as a fish die-off - of economic activities Photograph: Fabio Teixeira/Pacific/Barcroft

Dead fish clog the Rodrigo de Freitas lake in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Scientists claim that the fish were starved of oxygen because of pollution. A holistic approach would look closely at the environmental impacts – such as a fish die-off – of economic activities
Photograph: Fabio Teixeira/Pacific/Barcroft

Monday will see a post on this blog which discusses a critique of economics, which makes re-publishing this post from 2015 seem a logical step to take.

There is an interesting article by Jo Confino on the Guardian website detailing a recent report from the Capital Institute. How could I resist something that includes the following?

Ultimately, the report argues, a holistic perspective emphasizes that we are all connected to one another and to the planet, and therefore need to recognize that damaging any part of that web could end up harming every other part.

Below is a short extract: for the full article see link.

A holistic approach to the economy is necessary to avoid social, environmental and economic collapse, according to a new report by the Capital Institute.

To avoid social, environmental and economic collapse, the world needs to move beyond the standard choices of capitalism or socialism. That’s the conclusion of a new report released Wednesday by US think tank Capital Institute.

The non-partisan think tank argues that both systems are unsustainable, even if flawlessly executed, and that economists need to look to the “hard science of holism” to debunk outdated views held by both the left and the right.

Jan Smuts, who coined the term “holism” in his 1926 book, Holism and Evolution, defined it as the “tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts”. For example, in the case of a plant, the whole organism is more than a collection of leaves, stems and roots. Focusing too closely on each of these parts, the theory argues, could get in the way of understanding the organism as a whole.

Viewed through this perspective, the capitalist tendency to isolate an economic process from its antecedents and effects is fundamentally flawed. The Capital Institute, created by former JP Morgan managing director John Fullerton, says that society’s economic worldview has relied on breaking complex systems down into simpler parts in order to understand and manage them.

For example, this traditional economic view might view automobile manufacturing separately from the mineral mining, petroleum production and workers on which it relies. Moreover, this view might also not acknowledge the impact that automobile manufacturing has on the environment, politics and economics of an area. Holism, on the other hand, would view the entire chain of cause and effect that leads to – and away from – automobile manufacturing.

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