Economics is at its most simplest about human beings producing and consuming. These activities always occur in a context – be it historical, cultural, biological, ethical, philosophical or spiritual. Economics is today framed in a materialist context with the over riding tendency to self interest at the material level. In traditional economics there appears to be minimal enquiry into what it means to be a human being at the most fundamental philosophical and spiritual levels, and what motivates and drives us human beings in regards to our resultant economic activity. Economic activity doesnt occur in a vacuum it always is occurring in a context which comes with a world view or perspective on life( often in our subconscious or part of our untested conditioning). I want to introduce an enquiry grounded in the biggest possible perspective on human life – who are we and where did we come from ) into economic theory and to see what will emerge in terms of economic behavior and structures.
I aim to keep this enquiry practical and simple and yet go deeper into questions of the human spirit that are not usually associated with economics.
Efficiency of markets
History has shown that when human beings are free to exchange or trade goods and services without any impediments to that exchange, over time the standard of living rises in the communities in which those who are parties to the trade, live and spend the income from those exchanges.
Historically the initial exchanges were [...]
It was revealing to search out the dictionary definitions of efficiency.
Oxford concise Science Dictionary: a measure of performance of a machine, engine etc being the ratio of the energy or power it delivers to the energy or power fed to it. In general the efficiency of a machine varies with the conditions under which it [...]
I have spoken about the how the word efficiency is a human construct. In today’s developed world, two major and opposing views on efficiency: the political and business culture is all about efficiency as the shortest distance between two points ie as a straight line under all circumstances. The other view from the sub set post [...]
The use of the word efficiency is starting to appear everywhere. This week I came across three examples: Harvard University Professor Marc Hauser writing for The American Scientist in its September 2009 special issue on ‘Understanding origins’ referred in his article on ‘The origins of the mind’ to human beings as “exchanging information in a [...]
In the previous blog on efficiency we saw that this concept has become one of the most powerful values in economics and in our society today. One could argue that efficiency is an evolutionary trait that is linked to our amazing ability to survive as a species in at times horrendous climatic conditions over the [...]
Economics has been defined in many ways over the last 200 years. I will define it simply as the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. It is interesting that Adam Smith, who many proclaim to be the father of the study of economics didn’t leave us with a definition. He was an academic moral [...]