Environment change, economy change and reducing conflict at source

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Abstract

At a time when fossil fuel burning, nationalism, ethnic and religious intolerance, and other retrograde steps are being promoted, the prospects for world peace and environmental systems stability may appear dim. Yet now is it the more important to continue to examine the sources of conflict. A major obstacle to general progress is the currently dominant economic practice and theory, which is here called the economy-as-usual, or economics-as-usual, as appropriate. A special obstacle to constructive change is the language in which economic matters are usually discussed. This language is narrow, conservative, technical and often obscure. The rapid changes in the environment (physical and living) are largely kept in a separate compartment. If, however, the partition is removed, economics -as-usual, with its dependence on growth and its widening inequality, is seen to be unsustainable. Radical economic change, for better or worse, is to be expected. Such change is here called economy change. The change could be for the better if it involved an expansion of the concept of economics itself, along the lines of oikonomia, a modern revival of a classical Greek term for management or household. In such an expanded view, not everything of economic value can be measured. It is argued that economics-as-usual is the source of much strife. Some features are indicated of a less conflictual economy - more just, cooperative and peaceful. These features include a dignified life available to all people as of right, the word 'wealth' being reconnected with weal, well and well-being, and 'work' being understood as including all useful activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215–228
JournalAI & Society
Volume33
Issue number2
Early online date6 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Keywords

  • Economic Change
  • Economy Change
  • Economy-as-usual
  • Oikonomia
  • Stability
  • Conflict
  • Peace

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