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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 9 / 2009 (538)

The Rhythm of Common Sense

„Here you have to run as fast as you can just to remain still. If you wish to get somewhere you have to run at least twice as fast.”
Lewis Carroll

Parting moral guidelines from the reasoning of Economics was not just a path of objectifying but also of clouding its judgments of value. The crossroad was in the struggle of economics of evolving toward the status of science, as it is represented by physics. Economics has altered human nature to the point of altering its essence, for it to befit only rational regularities.

Once power was associated with wealth, Economics had to defy human nature as well as nature in general, by submitting them to the rules of efficiency. Starting with the first industrial revolution, Economics - having become a science of wealth as a fundament of power - has created models of combining the factors with the maximizing function of the output. Especially in the last century, Economics was centered around the idea of growth, in which the quantitative determinants were the norm.

The problem at hand is whether Economics has taken an epistemic path in accordance with its object. Certainly, the correct answer is not found in the explicative performances of Economics in the last few centuries; not even in the quantitative measure of these performances. Though strange, this hypothesis is meant to beg that the answer is searched beyond the path of efficiency taken by Economics, especially in its growth-theory influenced flavor. The argument relates directly to the rule of common sense as a distinction of human nature and as a basis for behaviors specific to natural systems.

There is no doubt that the economy bears a serious component of an artificial type, itself producing artificiality even. Between these guidelines, only by excluding man from the equation could we be able to judge by the rules of the artificial. Essentially, what is created by man stays in resonance with natural laws, in their expressed form specific to human nature. To create differently than by the rules of equilibrium specific to nature seems a challenge -often undertaken by man, but never proven to be a long lasting endeavour. Creating more and more, in an economic sense - producing more and more (meaning to break with the equilibrium between the needs of man and the resources of nature - including those of human nature), presents an apocalyptic risk. Both the rhythms of life and the equilibriums of human nature are fatally contradicted.

Economics was wrong when it imposed the "plenty" as a standard. Nature proves that when trees, for example, face the prospect of not surviving due to height issues relating to the access to light, all of them will ignore the rule of costs in order to be taller. It hasn't been any different since the competition for growth was imposed as a model, with every country doing enormous spending - not necessarily reflected in statistics such as the stress of people for instance - in order to achieve ever greater rates of GNP growth.

In a perverted, somewhat dangerous way for the health of humans, the competition of natural selection at the level of species was translated to the competition for economic supremacy between countries.

The enormous loss - at the level of comfort, brought by evolution at an accelerated rhythm and contradicting the rhythm of natural evolution is never calculated. Economics is not even preoccupied with calculating the huge costs of sustaining a process unfitting to human nature. The strange part is that it cannot be seen that the propensity for growth is stimulated by translating into Economics the procedures for obtaining power used by peoples throughout history. Whoever managed to externalize in time most of the costs of growth also has the power to keep on growing. And it does it at rhythms meant to suffocate any capacity held by those who would opt for accelerated growth and would accept enormous costs drawn either on the population, or on nature. Those who were the first to initiate growth hold a natural monopoly over the externalities.

As long as the option for rapid growth is only possible if we admit the explosion of costs, in one direction or the other, the religion of economic growth has the role of concentrating power, of ossifying the hierarchical structure of the world.

Rightly speaking, growth is the process invented in the name of the idea of competition in order to defy the role of the man who is capable of reaching rational agreements for a convenient level of comfort.

As evolutionism teaches us, just as in life, in a head-on competition the rate of success is different for the parties only if one of them cheats. The race for economic growth cannot go on indefinitely because resources are limited. Furthermore, when economies don't get to grow at the same pace but in a rather more normal, durable rhythm, the economic function of the countries is not reached.

Economic behavior cannot differ from the behavior of nature: balanced, with no shocks, dedicated to the middle path. Economics is meant to insure the normal guidelines for economic behavior. And these cannot be set too far away from the common sense of nature.


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The Rhythm of Common Sense
Marin Dinu

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The Economicity. The Epistemic Landscape, Marin Dinu, 2016

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