The world economy isn’t working as well as it should and could. Some countries that enjoyed for some years near full employment, low interest rates, and a bearable rate of price increases, with fast-rising material living standards, all achieved without anything like current high levels of government and private debt, do so no longer. Efforts to restore those happy conditions have had no durable success.
Perhaps current economics of whatever school, from the left to the right, confuses quantities with their rates of change, describes phenomena in terms opposed to their nature, misrepresents things in harmony as being contradictory and vice versa.
Wealth is currently understood to be money, goods and services.
In fact, wealth is environmental resources – clean air and water; metal ores; biological diversity, that is the number and variety of living organisms; fossil fuels; timber; arable land; fish; natural recycling and cleaning systems; pleasant living and recreational environments; the earth’s capacity as a home for life.
Goods and services are wealth in the process of throughput.
Money, people, technology, skill, manufacturing equipment are not resources or wealth. All are agents of throughput. Technology and skill being agents of throughput could be regarded as qualitative wealth, which is quite distinct from quantitative wealth, the feedstock of throughput.
Money facilitates throughput but the total money quantity isn’t the important variable. What matters is the proportion of the total money supply flowing through the different channels in the economy – wages, profits, investment, government spending, social security. This proportionate flow idea will be discussed more fully later, in various chapters.
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Posts in this Series
- Review of 1988 edition of Economics for a Round Earth
- Ends and Means
- Evolution Not Revolution
- Notes on Evolution Not Revolution
- Concepts and Terms – What is ‘wealth’?
- The Throughput Chain
- The Derivatives of Wealth
- Global Inequalities in Wealth
- Economic Growth Redefined
- Misconceptions in Practice
- Borrowing to Invest to Get Rich
- Environment versus Economic Progress
- Digression: Pollution Red Herrings
- Digression: Depletion and Inflation
- Value Inflation – the Trigger, not the Bullet
- Living Standard and Quality of Life
- Digression: Resource Consumption, Jobs, and Hands Off
- When the Boom comes
- The Effect of People’s Expectations
- Hard Work – Virtue or Vice?
- Who needs the Snail Darter?
- More Dollars for Conservation?
- Non-renewable Resources – Leave Them in the Ground?
- Digression: Fast Breeder Nuclear Fission Reactors
- Minerals in National Parks – Leave Them in the Ground?
- Population and Wealth
- Left, Right and The Environment
- Digression: “So Long As We Profit, Costs Elsewhere Aren’t Our Problem”?
- Limits to Growth?
- Solar Energy – a Special Case
- The Solar-Powered Car
- Money Supply, Throughput and Inflation
- Real and Money Wages: Living Standards
- Digression: Caution about “Increases” and “Decreases”
- The Idea of Proportionate Flows Applied to Wages: the Great Depression
- Deficit Financing
- The Optimum Proportionate Flow Condition
- Digression: Thrift versus Spendthrift
- Digression: the Private Motor Car – a Basic Necessity?
- The Idea of Proportionate Flows Applied to Wages – the Stagflation of the 1970’s and 80’s
- Excessive Wages Can Cost Jobs
- Fight Unemployment or Inflation First?
- Digression: Work and Jobs
- Other “Job Creation” Schemes
- Visual and Noise Pollution
- Digression: Renewal and Recycling of Resources; Wages and Jobs
- Ratio Distortion and Consumption
- Aggregate Demand – Components and Internal Ratio
- The Slave Economy
- Employment and the Steady State
- Consumer-Led Recovery
- Interest Rates and Ratio Distortion
- Demographic Trends and Living Standards
- Digression: Bad Economics Good for Conservation?
- Coping with Aging Populations
- Stabilising the Human Population
- Costs – What Really Costs Us and What Doesn’t?
- Digression: Other Comments on Statements in UN Report
- Discussion of Costs Resumed
- Budget Balancing Methods – Cost or Gain?
- Digression: Government Expenditure – Government Employees
- Expenditure on Weapons