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ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES

 
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Leonie Humphreys



Joined: 23 Sep 2008
Posts: 216
Location: West Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:04 pm    Post subject: ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES Reply with quote

The aims of establishing justice, equity and sustainability are ideals which require an understanding at the deepest level.

Frederick Soddy seems to have had a considerable understanding of the subject (and also has some very interesting things to say about money which I will introduce at some point). So I have quoted from ‘Beyond Growth’ by Herman Daly (1996), who comments on the economic thought of Frederick Soddy:


‘Frederick Soddy (1877 – 1956) is best known as a pioneering chemist who collaborated with Rutherford in studying radioactive disintegration, predicted the existence of and coined the name for isotopes, and was a major contributor to the modern theory of atomic science.

Although an enthusiastic believer in scientific progress and in the possibility of a society in which the fruits of scientific knowledge would be shared by all, Soddy was acutely aware that history supported the view that science has proved as much a curse as a blessing to humanity. Nor could he accept the comfortable view that scientists have no responsibility for the uses to which their work is put. Even though others (bankers and economists) bore, in his view, a far greater burden of guilt for the misuse of knowledge, scientists could not plead innocent. The world’s real problem was faulty economics, not faulty chemistry, and for the second half of his nearly eighty years economics replaced chemistry as the centre of his intellectual life.

… Soddy was convinced that the economic system contained built-in elements for assuring the destruction of Creation, once science gave man the power. The key problem therefore, was to discover and correct the errors in our economic thinking and institutions, a task which Soddy tackled with both moral fervour and the systematic logic of an experienced scientist.

THE NEGLECTED PHYSICAL BASIS OF ECONOMICS: Soddy’s basic philosophical approach to economics might be called materialism without reductionism. We must recognize the fundamental dualism of the material and the spiritual and resist ‘monistic obsessions’. Economics occupies the middle ground between matter and spirit, between the electron and the soul:

‘In each direction possibilities of further knowledge extend ad infinitum, but in each direction diametrically away from and not towards the problems of life. It is in this middle field that economics lies, unaffected whether by the ultimate philosophy of the electron or the soul, and concerned rather with the interaction, with the middle world of life of these two end worlds of physics and mind in their commonest everyday aspects, matter and energy on the one hand, obeying the laws of mathematical probability or chance as exhibited in the inanimate universe, and on the other, with the guidance, direction and willing of these blind forces and processes to predetermined ends.’ '


Last edited by Leonie Humphreys on Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Leonie Humphreys



Joined: 23 Sep 2008
Posts: 216
Location: West Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Economics as: 'the middle ground between matter and spirit' Reply with quote

Soddy speaks of economics being concerned with the ‘middle ground between matter and spirit’. For me this sheds light on the relationship between spirituality and material life. In his understanding the importance of principles upon which to base economic activity can be seen. For example an analogy of scales with spirituality on one side and material life on the other, places the fulcrum representing economic principles/law at the centre providing the balance/harmony or support for both material life and spiritual life. This analogy therefore points to the importance of getting the economic principles right in order to promote both 'material' justice & equity and spiritual life, so that they are mutually supporting.

For Soddy the key problem was to 'discover and correct the errors in our economic thinking and institutions'.

But do you agree, and if so, what might economic principles include?
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Peter Bowman



Joined: 02 Nov 2008
Posts: 27
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Leonie,

I recently discovered an example of discover and correct the errors in our economic thinking and institutions'. It is Soddy's book on monetary reform published in 1943. The title conveys the general thrust:

THE ARCH-ENEMY OF ECONOMIC FREEDOM
What Banking is. What first it was and again should be.
A reply to Mr. McKenna's "What is Banking" (McKenna was Chancellor of the Exchequer 1915 -16 and was for many years chairman of the Midland Bank) including a criticism of Morgenthau and Keynes proposal and a resume of the authors Monetary Reform Proposals for "Pound for Pound Banking"

There is also a letter from Mr. Andrew MacLaren dated the same year:

Dear Mr. Soddy,
Yes, put my name to your letter.
What a pass it has come to! Poor ignorant humanity living in fear of itself. A world of people all wanting food, clothing shelter and ordinary comforts, all possessing the physical power to produce the things they want yet they are living in fear of want,
Walking upon the Earth as legal trespassers; the Earth from which they could draw all they desire!
The Earth is no longer the storehouse of mankind as a whole; it is the Basic Security of Bankers, the concession of the monopolist and the dice of the speculator.
The tokens wherewith rootless humanity is compensated for toiling have become at once the instruments of their slavery and the secret weapons of their international masters; the make-weights that ever throw the balance of the scales against just reward.
Go ahead on your good work of education.
God speed,
Yours sincerely,
Andrew MacLaren MP

This alludes to some fundamental aspects of the question of economic justice under consideration elsewhere in the forum!

Peter
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kaleem ullah



Joined: 20 Feb 2015
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jorge, hi -- Brian's book 'A New Model of the Economy' can be got through Amazon online; or if there's a problem in that for you, from Shepheard-Walwyn Publishers, also online..
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