With a pinch of desperation, last week I downloaded Doughnut Economics: seven ways to think like a 21st century economist by Kate Raworth from Borrowbox. This is much better as an analysis of what's wrong with Capitalism and where we might go next . . . or maybe I've grown up enough to understand what it means. Raworth identifies two elephants on this economic merry-go-round a) The engine is missing: the energy [black gold] and natural resources from which goods are made are treated as infinite and available. b) Who makes the toast and washes the dishes - and the shirts, the car and the front stoop? The worker with his labour and his lunch-pail needs the invisible [unpaid anyway] support of his family. Yes yes pronoun alert: but still 73 years after the publication Paul Samuelson's Economics the worker is male and he's gorra wife, We hear a lot about the squeezed middle: the productive backbone of society who are too rich to get a medical card but too poor to afford private health insurance. Raworth's economy is squeezed between the demands of people for a bright plastic basin to wash the dishes in [and the water to suds with] and the now suddenly finite resources of spaceship Gaia:
Raworth's economy is subtitled a safe and just space for humanity. The Market economy is quite happy to have emaciated kids rivetting eyelets onto Nike trainers because those kids are prepared to work for $2 a day. If it wasn't enough, they'd withhold their labour. Which works for academic economists: if they don't like Harvard they can move to Yale. For that kid in Indonesia, Nike may be the only gig in town . . . apart from prostitution or grubbing a living from a cassava garden.
There are four players in the Doughnut Economy: households [paid and unpaid]; the Market; the Commons; and Government. I've written about the Commons and how Garrett Hardin associated them - for all time- with tragedy. Some player would always try to put one more sheep on the common and the whole system would collapse dry up and blow away in a dust-storm. Not so fast, says Kate Raworth, for her the Commons are the glue of society all the things we do together without pausing to think if they are monetizable: busking, campaigning, Fortnite, peregrination, elder-care, after-school, adopting an unfluffy endangered species, starting a soup kitchen. We're on the planet for maybe 80 years, we'd better make the best of it. Reframing our existence from being a wage-slave to Capital to an equal contributing part of our community is a good place to start. contra Thatcher, the is such a thing as society: it's where I go drumming