Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The return of the Aristocracy- in suits ?

Garnaut has come out this week saying men in fine suits hold the key to solving the worlds problems. He's mainly talking about Carbon taxes and the role of economists in driving sustainable change.  As a welcome advocate of alternative economics from wayback,  he wasn't always a straight suit advocate.How much like Galbraith is Garnaut?
The point is , as a political animal , can we trust him and his brand of  power driven political intervention?   Always too big for his boots?. There is a bit of that even though I think he is right about the critical role of some new economists.  He was mainly talking about Carbon taxes  , BUT I'm talking about the daily grind of governance. Some up in politicaceleste forget about the critical importance of the later; Proclaiming the obvious;  Wearing the right words , but not wearing clothes . HC Anderson was right - such games  can't last! Galbraith got some things right ,but is Garnaut living on the capital , rather the substance of that?
Some leaders "just wanna push the button; switch the lever."   I insist these wannabes be prevented from doing that  but fully participate in "Parliament". Their job is to state consensus not state their own consensus.  

Aristocrats are always encouraged to act when the plebs and the parliament seem to be ineffective. With ABCTV  on about its own brand of aristocrats for decades , what hope is there for the barefoot doctors amongst us ?
  So , we have the aristocracy back in full force - what are we going to do to restrain them and make them work and think a bit harder and broader ( the real challenge for dealing with complex ecosystem issues is this business of talking things through )
There has CLEARLY been too much focus and unproductive talk on the importance of  "the barefoot doctor" in development poverty and justice  issues - for those who don't believe me look at the Aid agencies POor track record here !    Its no use being hard on "the fascists"when the "dogooders" are just treading water in the background!  Waste money and you'll lose the audience, whatever cause you drive on our behalf.
 Microeconomics may have replaced technological innovation as the focus of the aid agencies in recent years, but such focus  still  too small in focus and panders to quick fix and soft edged in imperative science to be effective . Aid agencies for all their interest , are like social workers,  running the risk of being  out of touch with the 2 areas that can help them make good decisions  .I am saying therefore that we need "social workers" and "economists" and that somehow they should stop fighting each other  for the territory.

Real improvements in resilience often happen as biproducts of economic activity, not because polies know what they are doing with it .The same has to be said for Aid agencies who are not in a position to talk out what it  takes a good parliament to do. The effectiveness of American foreign policy in Japan after the War is a special example of building on a low base ( helps drive things in a new direction) . but it highlights that in the right place , economists with  a do good focus can get it right .

Knowing the eco drivers will help our society , but its the sensitivity required to help people cope with change that threatens and has threatened all governments who allow quick fix merachants  to rule.
( Labor's CC policy in 2011)
So, suited sorts  and barefoot doctors can be either too close or too remote to be effective in bringing the people to more resislient positions. The difference between a Greece and  Germany?
What sort of forums are there for such discussions ?  Surely no one really believes a mere tax will result in transformation .
Its Bit like saying tariffs work better than targeted incentives ( they see it but they don't see it ) . The fall back position of course is that " you need a lot of money " to change behaviour . This is the mistake of many wannabes  -they want it too simple ; the pile of money too big .
You need both money,  signals and sensitivity in selling the real aim of coercion here . No use avoiding the ultimate need for some coercion as well as price signals ( the wooses only option)
Parliament should be one area for balanced integration of the advice of both advisors  because infact it not easy to survive eco crisis or even eco pressures - them or us .(Carbon tax will be centre stage at our next election )
 Resilience discussions  seem to be best held when we have room to move ; the imposition of carbon and water taxes has , like the careless ideas that drive pollies to use them have consequences - the poor have no room to move . The eco crisis in Europe may not be the place to see  a balanced discussion of a return to resilience . We've been running one for years  but whose watching?
The wonderful thing ( testimony of the West ) is that resilience can work and coercion accepted in the right comfort zone . The quick fixers are kidding themselves about being anything but panic merchants and "wolves in sheeps clothing" ;they waste our resources to do nothing to change the behaviour of the truly wasteful .Remember an economic ecologist knows which elements of the cycle are reused and not wasted . Most wannabes have no idea and can only see the passing traffic,  so panic comes naturally to them.
The problems are  less when you have the big picture in mind .Don't believe in "experts"when the problem is bigger than any of us individually.

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