Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Ideal Economic Model

Money is like an iron ring we've put through our noses. We've forgotten that we designed it, and it is now leading us around.It is time to figure out where we want to go - in my opinion towards sustainability and community - and then design a money system (economic system) that gets us there. -Bernard Lietaer.

The now globally prevailing economic model lays emphasis on the Gross Domestic Product for judging the performance of a Nation's economy. It is increasingly recognised worldwide that the happiness level of a society does not correspond to its growth rate (of GDP). In fact it has been suggested that a Gross Happiness Product would be a preferable indicator of a Nation's well being, if it could be evolved. The reason that the present commodity-based economic model has failed to bring corresponding amount of happiness in the society, is that we have forgotten that by economic development we actually mean socio-economic development. Economic growth has no meaning without the society to which it pertains to. The prevailing commodity-based economic model virtually regards the economic and social problems of the society as discrete entities not to be mixed with one another. This piece-meal approach, though for the sake of convenience, has resulted in meaningless emphasis on increasing the growth rate of the economy, regardless of whether it is for the entire society's well being and progress or certain sections thereof.

This problem would be solved if the locally felt economic needs of the people are fulfilled by a system of governance which can respond to the people's wishes on a 'day-to-day' basis. This would be possible only through a system of Partyless Governance, where 'independent' elected representatives, elected on the basis of their proven worth and free from 'party line of thinking' can give shape to the Government's policies and programmes. Such a truly participatory democracy would fulfill the needs of every section of the society, bring all-round development and at the same time correct the gross imbalances in socio-economic conditions of different sections of the people.

The present commodity-based economic model perpetuated by thinkers far removed from everyday realities and needs faced by the people, has resulted in a skewed development with islands of prosperity existing within a mass of poverty with people developing a materialistic outlook on life. This has given way to consumerism and rise of money power which inevitably results in social evils like increasing acceptability of corruption as a way of life, selfishness, greed, neglect of the poor, child labour, exploitation of every kind and rise of criminal tendencies.

Under a Partyless Governance we have the Ideal Economic Model where the economic policies and programmes are tailored to suit the people's felt needs. Planned and Market aspects of the Economy would still be relevant, which however will have as their undercurrent - people's wishes. Since people would naturally seek happiness as the bottomline in life, such an economic dispensation would encourage positive values in the society like understanding other's problems and sharing with others, resulting in optimal utilisation of resources.

Economy is defined as the management of concerns and resources of a state (or business or household). Here 'concerns' will include the needs of the people, which may be apart from commodities, spiritual needs like freedom, opportunity and fulfillment. By accepting the bliss-centered basic spiritual nature of man as a functional reality, rather than deluding ourselves that man in the final analysis is basically a physical body to be taken care of, we arrive at an economic model, which has a unifying effect. By adopting a 'bliss-centered' economy made possible through a Partyless Governance, societies will thus lay emphasis on overall satisfaction or bliss as the bottom-line.


Blogger Bruce said...

I believe if the people are healthy, educated freely through principles, have a "spiritual" conception which includes society and community harmony, we can find happiness.

The people will than be productive and the product will be the GDP.

Present focus is backwards.


3:53 AM  

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