This will be my first blog in English. My theme for today: crisis and hope.
When I read the papers last week I am not getting happy. Joris Luyendijk, who reported from the City of London last year, arrives at the conclusion that since the outbreak of the financial crisis NOTHING has changed in the City. Quote: “My idea behind journalism in a democracy is: people should know this! Then the politicians come under pressure, and they will deal with the wrong. But the more I see and understand of the financial sector, the more I wonder if this is true. The sector has become immune for unveiling. And national politicians who stay within the boundaries of the financial system can can in their ‘second career’ count on life changing rewards.. . . [then he goes on with describing some examples of terrible atrocities that go on and on] . . . I really don’t see how we get out of this without substantial damage.” And Anneleen Kenis and Mattias Lievens just wrote a book in which they show that notwithstanding many developments towards sustainability, it is all too little and too late (and also a lot of window dressing).
I think that one of the problems of this time is that both politicians and business people underestimate the deep interconnectedness of economy, politics and ecology. Changes that really could make a difference should take place in all three domains at the same time. An example: as long as one tries to solve the economical problem within the economic frame of reference that is operative, there is virtually no solution. As Einstein said: You cannot solve a problem with the same means with which you created it. And that is exactly what politics try to do. One of the main causes of the financial crisis is the separation of the financial sector from politics, which made it possible to create endless debts. And how are we trying to solve the crisis? Either by creating more debts, or by cutting back public expenditure and thus stopping economic growth. Both roads are a dead alley
Economic growth is the only way we know to reach some desirable goals: full employment, reducing poverty, diminishing income discrepancies, and so on. But economic growth is not possible anymore for several reasons. One, we are running out of the earth’s resources, and two, no organic system , like the economic system, can grow infinitely (as among others Adam Smith, Stuart Mills and John Maynard Keynes already stated).
So for the present economical and ecological crisis there is no solution within the existing belief systems. This is a somber message for the end of the year. But there is hope, and it is implicit in what I just said. There is no solution within the existing frame of reference indeed, but we can change this frame. How? That will be the subject for the next blog, so that we can start the year with an optimistic note.
In the mean time I wish you a peaceful New Years Eve, and let us realize: no one can predict the future. It can be bad, but also good or even fantastic. We simply don’t know. Happy New Year!