The Logic Freaks of Neoclassical Economics

The old-school practitioners completely missed the meltdown ... is it time to paradigm shift them out of power?

The typical lifespan of a recession is about five years. The Great Depression lasted ten. But downtrends in the larger planetary economy can go on far, far longer. Economists are now warning us that the global economy is in danger of experiencing a lost decade, similar to the one Japan experienced after its real estate and equity bubbles burst in the ’90s. But the economists stop short of cautioning that we risk losing a century, or even a millennium, if climate change suddenly lurches out of control. The logic freaks of neoclassical economics don’t like to talk ecology – their models don’t account for melting glaciers, dying coral reefs or the possible collapse of the entire Australian continent. But the reality is that it takes centuries to restore codfish to the Atlantic or to reboot a coral reef and it takes a thousand years to grow a single inch of topsoil. This is the kind of bio-speak that falls outside the theoretical framework of neoclassical economists. They’re much more comfortable talking money – the language of liquidity, stimulus packages and hedge fund regulation. There is no discussion within their profession of the real-world impacts of their economic philosophies.

The moment in human history when our planet started crashing and gave birth to a thousand years of sorrow.

So as we struggle through this recession, bear in mind that there is something profoundly more ominous afoot than what you see reflected in your bank account or the stock market numbers. This year might not be remembered as the beginning of the second Great Depression, but as the moment in human history when our planet started crashing and gave birth to a thousand years of sorrow. Are we in denial about this … casually going about our lives while humanity’s long-term prospects fade?

Kalle Lasn