A polished and, to me, convincing summary of our predicament. Big hat tip to Joe Romm for passing this on.
So do you agree? On the relationship of the debt bubble to the argument that growth has essentially been a charade for decades? On the idea that public debt is a claim on resources?
See, what this does if it holds is kill Keynesianism altogether, from a sustainability viewpoint. It’s important because it reveals a contradiction in progressive thought.
I have been saying it is full employment vs sustainability. This video makes a comparable claim that it is debt vs sustainability. It’s very compatible; clearly companies take on debt to expand their employment in the hope of expanding future profit. And their way of putting it is a bit less disturbing than mine; we have been taught that employment is an unalloyed good, while we are conflicted about debt.
Both views go against the conventional economic wisdom of liberal economists, Krugmanites. I like these people, and in some ways I like the way they think, but they are so happy with their abilities to manage the infinitesimal that they seem to have lost track of the finite.
Remember that the people most upset about the recent resolution of the Tea Party blackmail are those who believe we should take on more debt, and aim for full high-pay low-skill employment as if this were the heyday of General Motors. But that day is over.
The video doesn’t take the necessary step though. An end to growth is an end to full employment.
What we need is to bring back the welfare state, because there are not enough useful jobs for everybody, but everybody deserves dignity. We need to replace wealth with efficiency. Stuff with information. More parks, less yards. More theater, less theaters. More community, less corporation.
Oh, and one last point in closing, the last bloody thing we need in America is to “revitalize the construction industry”. Have you counted vacant buildings in your vicinity lately? Anyone who can say this with a straight face (most economists, investors and business reporters) deserves to be slapped in the face with a less-than-fresh fish. That’s just stupid.