The Ecological Opportunity
Edited by Blandine Laperche, Nadine Levratto and Dimitri Uzunidis
Chapter 10: Towards a Social and Environmental Economy
Pierre Guguenheim INTRODUCTION Today’s economic and financial model is faltering, discredited by successive crises. Above all, it is unable to meet social and environmental expectations. Poverty and inequalities are increasing. Global warming, biodiversity loss and the depletion of non-renewable natural resources are under way. In spite of these indisputable and undisputed damages, the model remains in force. Blinkered thinking that justifies the current system’s ineluctability is carefully maintained at every level of education, in schools and in universities. In France, economics is not taught at school. It must remain a specialist’s topic. People are not supposed to dispute the economic direction chosen by elites. In universities, heterodox theories are given very small space. Members of the examining boards are generally economists who totally support economic liberalism. Leaders of the whole political spectrum and economic elites alike have adopted that blinkered economic thinking. They have studied in the same prestigious schools. Such a view relies on postulates. Economics is said to be an exact science based on unbreachable rules. Axioms are bombarded by political, economic and media leaders and nobody would even think of opposing them: inflation is the main threat to the economy, governments cannot print money to boost the economy, government intervention is troublesome and hampers economic equilibria, the free movement of capital optimizes global development . . . (Galand and Grandjean, 1996). Economics is certainly not an exact science, but a social construction (Chapter 6, this book). Inflation is only one economic factor among many, which must be taken into account...
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