Philip Whiteley's Blog

October 24, 2011

Review of The Economics of Enough

Filed under: Uncategorized — felipewh @ 2:38 pm

I’ve been engaged in online debate about the Occupy Wall Street/Occupy LSX protests, saying that to protest is not enough – you have to propose an alternative to the neo-liberal economic theory that has caused so much damage. One of the problems is that a coherent alternative means tough choices and patient work. Having either taken part in, or observed, protest for a quarter of a century, I have yet to see even a glimmer of productive endeavour arising from these initiatives.

There are ideas out there, however. I’m engaged in my own endeavour with Neela Bettridge at the new blog Radical Shift. A major contribution comes from Diane Coyle in the book The Economics of Enough. My review is published here, and an excerpt follows:

The Economics of Enough is a clear, challenging and impressively broad description of the momentous challenges facing societies, especially western economies, including some perfectly practical suggestions for reform. It is customary at this point in a review to comment that the book ‘ought to be required reading for policy-makers’ – but this immediately prompts the thought: why isn’t it? In a sane world, The Economics of Enough would not just be required reading; much of the content would be cut and paste from the text to the speeches and policies of those in power and the think tanks that inform them … Coyle herself hints at the reason: some of the implications for policy choice are just too painful. Perhaps another, equally unsatisfactory, reason lies in the psychology of the powers that are on and behind the throne in capitals such as London and Washington: the economics of ‘enough’ just isn’t going to set the pulses racing of the wee bairns that draft the policies and the major speeches. In such febrile environments, a ‘solution’ is always sought, whereas The Economics of Enough calls for understanding.

Link: Enlightenment Economics, by Diane Coyle.


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