Critiques of modern economics
Critiques of modern economics and its many manifestations are slowly bubbling through the surface of society. As capitalism calls for continuous growth, many outspoken economists, academics, politicians, activists, and others have begun to question the viability of such a model on a finite planet.
Alternative economic models are beginning to develop around the world that call for growth in our quality of life and degrowth in the amount of resources consumed. Gift economies, peer to peer lending, micro-loans, local currencies, transition towns, and other initiatives are working towards these ends. Furthermore, the idea of intentional communities, cooperatives, and mindful living focused on connection, cooperation, and sharing is beginning to emerge in pockets as people seek new options to better fit their needs/wants to their ethics, values, and morals.
(A short film with author and "degrowth activist" Charles Eisenstein on Sacred Economics):
The necessity of change is seen by many to be found all around us in the literature surrounding sustainability. The impacts of commodification and capitalization on our cultures around the world has been well documented throughout history and they have led to every major biotic and abiotic system on the planet to be in a state of decline.
While the impacts of growth in our current system must be recognized and heralded for increasing our overall human quality of life, many are now questioning if our quest for more of the same is actually degrading our quality of life through degrading the natural environment of which we are a part. Furthermore, many argue that in order for some to profit, others must be in a state of deficit, living in a constant state of economic scarcity, trying to support their right to life through labor, while labor opportunities often don't exist or are unattainable for various reasons.
(By Jonny White (G20 April 1st) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
The following references argue in various ways, that our current socio-economic model is a part of, or precisely that which is, the degradation of our social and natural systems. Many argue that the current economic models are highly unsustainable while looking at their long-term viability through the lens of sustainability. As any model that is not socially just, environmentally sound, and economically viable simply will not work over the long-term.
"Where are the public spaces for young people, to learn a discourse, thats not commodified. To be able to think about non-commodifiable values. Like trust, justice, honesty, integrity, caring for others, compassion, those things, there just simply absent." - Henry Giroux