Human World Order
he says a second, more catastrophic crisis is unavoidable because our
economic model is "dramatically poisonous." Max-Neef explains that
"Greed is the dominant value today in the world and as long as that
persists, we’re done!" But he doesn’t just mean done economically, he
means done as a species.
describe economics, his philosophy is based on a macro-world view,
where he accounts for the biosphere, human creativity, security and
happiness, and life in all of its manifestations. He reveals that the
majority of economists have great knowledge, more than ever before, but they lack understanding.
The two differ as, "knowledge is a function of science, whereas
understanding is holistic," explained Max-Neef. Using the metaphor of
love to simplify: we may read and accumulate great knowledge about
love, but we can never fully understand it until we fall in love and
philosophy of humanizing economics, or "Barefoot Economics," stems from
spending years living in and studying the culture of poverty to better understand the
economics of it. He concludes that the poverty culture has entirely
different principles than our modern culture, where they must depend on
enormous creativity, cooperation and solidarity of people. In poverty,
"you cannot be an idiot if you want to survive," he quipped.
the interview that the "next crisis is coming, and it will be twice as
much as this one (referring to financial collapse of 2008)." Only for
this one, "there will not be enough money anymore — so that will be
it!" Even more frightening are his views that the ecosystem may be
beyond critical tipping points. He says, "Some important scientists
believe that it is definite, we are finished . . . I have not reached
that point, but I believe we are close."
biosphere as a subset of the economy, not the other way around, where
"economists don’t realize that if the bees disappear, so will he disappear." In other words, the notion that infinite growth can persist
in a finite biosphere is dead wrong. And we may already have reached a
point of no return.
change, he replied: "Oh, almost everything! We act systematically
against the evidences we have." He believes the economy will
"catastrophically" self-correct and a new model must emerge with
principles to humanize the economy in balance with the biosphere. His
five principles and values to develop a humanized economy are as
- The economy is to serve the people, not the people to serve the economy.
- Development is about people, and not about objects.
- Growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth.
- No economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services.
- The economy is a subsystem of a larger finite system — the biosphere, hence permanent growth is impossible.
The dominant value that is needed to sustain this new economy
is, "No economic interest, under any circumstances, can be more
important than LIFE in all its manifestations."
When the engineered collapse comes, we can bet that the
corporate-government will offer up their "solutions." It’s not good
enough for the Human World Order simply to oppose tyranny; we must also
present logical solutions. Manfred Max-Neef is offering a philosophy
to re-humanize the economy. From the ashes of the collapse will come
the opportunity to build a new economy based on human principles of
valuing all life. Ultimately, he is hopeful because of the amazing
human creativity and solidarity witnessed among the impoverished. We
shall create our way out of the crisis, but it must take place in an
entirely new economic model to be successful.
Please watch the entire interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. And follow Manfred Max-Neef’s books and speaking engagements here. Below is an older video describing his work in an indigenous village in South America.