Economics, happiness, and life-coherent societies

by Jeff Noonan In a 2007 report on the environmental and economic impact of intensified exploitation of the Alberta Oil Sands, then Chief Economist of the Toronto Dominion Bank, Don Drummond, re-affirmed orthodox economics’ faith in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of economic performance. “Gross Domestic Product,” he wrote, is the best available indicator of the overall health of the …economy, as it measures the market value of the goods and services produced.” [1] I begin with this example because the oil sands, at current global oil prices, are both hugely profitable and massively environmentally destructive. [2]  GDP … Continue reading Economics, happiness, and life-coherent societies

The Tao of economics

by Geoff Davies In the tropical forests of Central America are great stone temples and monuments, remnants of the Mayan civilisation that collapsed over a thousand years ago.  We can never know exactly why the Mayan civilisation collapsed, but some of the main factors were probably shifting climate, over-exploitation of natural resources, warfare and internal rivalries.  However a telling observation is that the grandest temples were built just before the final collapse.  It is not uncommon that the grandest accomplishments of a past society came just before a precipitous decline.  This pattern indicates the society was busy, right to the … Continue reading The Tao of economics