Slower by Design, Not Disaster
Chapter 3: Systems, Information and Prices
the mainstream discipline [of economics] has not . . . asked what types of information the price system systematically marginalizes or excludes, nor the consequences of these exclusions. (Babe 2002) Conceptualizing the economy, society and environment as nested systems as illustrated in Figure 2.2 reveals much that is important for understanding the economy and its dependence on a wider world. Modern, dynamic economies continually put pressure on the social and natural systems on which they rely. What is less clear from Figure 2.2 is how these other systems respond and adapt to this pressure and the eﬀect of these responses on the economy. There are positive and negative feedbacks in play in all these systems and at all levels. These feedback loops determine how systems function and how they respond to external pressures. Fundamental to any feedback loop is the information that drives it. For example, a thermostat used to maintain room temperature at a particular level works by comparing information about the current room temperature with the desired level. If the temperature is too high the thermostat switches the heating oﬀ. If it is too low, the thermostat switches the heating on. It should be obvious that if the information fed to the thermostat is not accurate then the desired room temperature will not be maintained. Accurate information is extremely important for any system to function well. Although they are not shown in Figure 2.2 there are feedback loops in all three of the systems: economy, society and nature, and among...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.