Input and Feedback from Graeme Maxton


Graeme Maxton, Economist and Author of The End of Progress – How Modern Economics has Failed Us. (July 7, 2012)

I took your short treatise with me to the park this morning and spent several happy hours discussing it with my Fran-equivalent, Bernice. It is a wonderful, stimulating document, which raises deep fundamental questions in an easy-to-digest way. Congratulations for that. I have a few specific comments in return:

  • I was unsure about the logic of points 2 and 3 in the Ecozoic era statement at the end. Yes, the living earth can only survive as an integral planetary being. But that does not mean it needs us. Also, I don't think we can say that the biosphere is a one-time endowment. It is the endowment for this time. If it is destroyed it will come back, in a similar or different form. I don't think we can say that any damage is irreversible when we also talk about the capacity for regeneration.
  • The logic that says we are part of a planet and cosmos, like independently cooperating cells in a body, is undeniable, certainly according to the Integral Spirit narrative. But I wondered when I was reading this if it could be that we are also the wrong sorts of cells. If humankind is actually a dead-end stage of the plan, if rather than being a potentially beneficial part of the story, we are actually a cancer. We are the cells that are destructive. If so, then the logic of a good friend of mine would unfortunately also apply. That if we are destroying the world and there is no way out, the correct strategy is to be as selfish and destructive and you can be, because we are all going to perish, there is nothing we can do and so we might as well make our own lives as good as they can be, despite the consequences for others. I think we need to address the logic of this notion.
  • Would you be willing to let me write a slightly different version of your paper? As I read it through, I could see how well constructed it is, how it flows easily. I imagined it in Yes! But then I imagined it going to the sorts of audiences I speak to - the bankers, the economists and those gaining so much from the current system in Asia. And I thought that they would dismiss the ideas too easily because it uses words that they mock - spiritual, biosphere, God. I would like to change it slightly, to refocus it in the language an Economist reader might expect, to try and make it what a selfish banker might want to ponder. Please excuse me if this is an intrusion - but it is also the thought behind my first point - if we make this the core of the message, then we can create different versions for different audiences.


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