In one of the Dutch papers (Trouw, October 31) an interesting article was published by two leading Dutch economists, Lans Bovenberg and Jan Peter van den Toorn. They rightfully concluded that the debate about the best economic policy to get out of the crisis actually is worse for the recovery of the economy than just following a course. Economists, politicians and representatives of certain interest groups get trapped in a trench war that completely paralyses all parties. No essential dialog is happening, and no structural meaurements are taken. That is true not just in the political realm, but also for the financial world. No essential change since 2008 has happened. The new crisis is waiting just around the corner. This time it shall be worse, because the governments are broke.
In their article they are giving interesting examples of how focussing on your own limited interest in fact damages your situation. For my Dutch readers I’d say: read the article!
According to these economists the cause of this impasse is that virtually nog one wants to transcend his own (group) interests. There is no attention for the common interest. So far so good – what’s new, one could say. But then in their article they make an interesting turn. The old qualities of hope, faith and love are the only sources that could help us out. Love is the only way, as they say, to make a real contact with the other side and see his interests. From there the common interests can be found. Love is as important a product factor as capital, labour, land and natural resources. They are pleading for a new economic science that takes this fourth resource into account.
Now, pay attention, this is not coming from some soft, vague, good willing idealists, but from some hardcore economists, who are giving very concrete examples in their article, with facts and figures. An interesting development! The question remains of course: how to release this love in the people concerned (and in us) in this time of uncertainty and fear? Already Jesus said: Love thy neighbour and your enemy. But what if we cannot find this love in ourselves? Should we feel guilty? Of course not. Longing for this love and talking about it is at least a beginning
By the way: this idea of listening, seeing each other and finding the common interest is not new of course. We know it from the field of conflict mediation. And we know how difficult this is to practise. We also know however that there are examples of positive results, that everyone can see for him or herself. Economy could learn from that. And the real revolutionary thought as far as I am concerned is the idea of love as the fourth product factor in economic theory. If we really start to consider that idea it will mean a revolution, not just in economy, but in ecology and organizational theory as well.
(I apologize for mistakes in my English. Blogs are cursory – not stuff for correction by a native speaker)