comments on rwer issue no 94

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  1. December 9, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    OK, I understand all the brilliant research Richard Smith has done in this article and in others on Xi and China, but there is no mechanism in the human society for “degrowth” except for horrific, hideous collapse.
    The real “chimera,” to use a term Richard invoked, is in any belief in human destiny other than feral disintegration after a heedless blowout period.

    • Richard Smith
      December 26, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      Dear Notabila,
      While the changes we need to make to prevent the collapse of civilization are profound and wrenching, I don’t believe collective eco-suicide is our only option. In an earlier article in this journal, I outlined a possible path to radical emissions suppression in the United States that would indeed require the shutdown and/or drawdown of thousands of industries and the restructuring and reprioritization of the entire economy. But I maintained that this could be accomplished without economic collapse and mass unemployment by nationalizing the fossil fuel industrial complex and its all its major downstream industrial consumers, buying out their owners if necessary ( and surprisingly affordable), and by providing jobs guarantees for all those affected workers. See below.

      As Great Thunberg has pointed out, the emergency shutdowns and bailouts the industrialized nations imposed in response to the covid epidemic have been painful but governments have managed them without precipitating economic collapse. Even here in the US with a disorganized and parsimonious Republican administration, the injection of trainloads of cash in March prevented collapse and mass unemployment. This is the sort of strategic planning we need to meet the climate emergency.

      My sketch was hardly a fully detailed blueprint but it should be enough to kickstart the sort of global conversation we need to be having about the imperative need to shut down, phase out and scale back polluting industries without collapsing our economy.

      I invite you to read this and also the many excellent contributions to the volume Economics and the Ecosystem (WEA Press) Edward Fullbrook and Jamie Monroe eds. as well as the new volume The Next Systems Reader, Gus Speth and Cathleen Courrier eds. (Routledge 2020).

      • January 4, 2021 at 12:38 pm

        Thanks for reply, Richard, and I truly respect your work.
        There still remains a fundamental antirealism in eco-socialist thought. I don’t think that there is a “we” that has “options” – social power is performed by huge reinforced institutions. The prevailing facts are undeniable – massified corporate extractive regimes, bait-and-switch Green New Deal diversions, global political idiocracies, perennial obligations toward “revolutionary” hopium throughout the speak-and-march marginalized left.
        Facts and sociology matter. I know where my shoes come from. I know where my trash goes. I know how pathetic and reprehensible my job was. I know who is driving what outside my window. There is too much fossil fuel energy built up in this supersystem to be ignored, and so a child shall lead us?

  2. December 10, 2020 at 6:25 am

    A clear and precise synthesis of the failure of neoliberalism.
    The trillion question is, what should come in its place, what is the alternative? What would a leftist program look like?
    In my experience, a short law is better than a long law to get started, otherwise the march will never be started. Or as the saying goes, even the longest journey begins with the first step.

    What are those basic but fundamental steps that help to banish neoliberalism, but also populism, rentism, extractivism and autocracy?

    Some initial questions:
    Banishing neoliberalism is …
    – banish capitalism?
    – remove private property?
    – eliminate markets?
    The unsolved questions are very numerous and have not yet been identified.

  3. David Harold Chester
    December 10, 2020 at 9:26 am

    The question of “if economics is a science” can be answered by stating that some of it is clearly scientific in its nature, were we able to resolve it from out of the rest. However, so many humanists have used intuition rather than logic to try to understand economics, that they have failed to properly appreciate in simple and specific terms of what it actually comprises and how it works. Without the use of logic applied to economics, their work has not enabled the would-be scientists of economics to realize their aims and ideals.

    This is due to the initial failure to proceed in their thoughts the way that scientists do when establishing a new hypothesis or theory–one of statring with basic axioms, sensible assumptions and accurate definitions, before reaching the stage of logical argument and analysis, to support their explanations. Yet there are some economists who either would like it to be more scientific, or may even have found a way to present their work in a truly scientific way.

    I happened to be one of these who is so inclined, perhaps due to my past profession as an engineer. Explaining macroeconomics in a more accurate and easier to understand way bothered me, and after some unsatisfactory attempts to follow it by the traditional means in undergraduate texts, I decided to re-write it for myself, with the intention of avoiding any kinds of political bias, such as had been the past situation.

    This research was spread over about 20 years of part-time investigation, but eventually I managed to scientifically explain of what it iomprises and particularly about how it works. I began (as an engineer might) with the development of a suitable model, see my short working paper SSRN 2865571 “Einstein’s Criterion Applioed to Logical Macroeconomics Modeling”. This simple yet fully comprehensive (wholistic) model was then used for analysis. It was applied in my book to the numerical calculation of the examples of different taxation methods, as well as for providing other kinds of descriptions and explanations.

    In that work, I showed that an increase in income tax (that is on wages) was beneficial when over a short time we consider the whole of our social system, but further, were the same sums to be collected from taxing land values instead of wages, the overall benefits to our system would be roughly 3 times as great! These results were surprizing (if not unbelievable) and I first thought they were wrong. However the logic leading to them was impeckable and irrefutable, so these findings cannot be pushed aside, and I eventaly decided that they must be correct.

    Scientific macroeconomics can take us to places that have not previously been explored, properly understood, nor compared. My starting on it will provide the way that research can continue to make this subject much more scientific and better explained. I strongly contend that new scientific discoveries and findings should be shared, without the need for any withholding, patenting, or conditional compensation. For a free copy of my 310 page e-book “Consequentlal Macroeconomics–Rationalizing About How Our Social System works”, please write to me at: It will clarify what has previously been a confusing and pluralistic subject, if nothing more.

    • Andri W. Stahel
      December 11, 2020 at 10:08 am

      Dear David Harold Chester, I wonder whether you actually read the article. I would like to hear your comments on it and have a fruitful debate with someone who still believes in applying the mechanistic methodology to the understanding of the economic life.

      • David Harold Chester
        January 10, 2022 at 4:31 pm

        I did. What concerns me is how little the established experts are willing to communicate in an open-minded way, and with people like me who may be virtually unknown but have a serious and most significant story to tell. In my case (and in yours too) it is about making macroeconomics a true science. My work includes a mechanical model of our social system, but that is far from all. Please review: SSRN 2600193 “A Mechanical Model for Teaching Macroeconomics” its on the internet. Ifyou like it we can then continue to my other works.

  4. David Harold Chester
    January 11, 2022 at 8:14 am

    Sorry, I got the SSRN number wrong. The correct one is: SSRN 2600103. Enjoy!

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