George Walford: How Wrong Can You Get?

Fourth World Review, Issue No. 48, complains: “despite the fact that we have more colleges, schools, professors, students, textbooks, magazines and research workers devoted to the subject of economics than was ever possessed by any previous civilisation we have been unable to solve a single economic problem.” (pg. 3)

That sounds deliberately perverse; some of our worst difficulties arise precisely because we have solved economic problems. Our ability to wreck the environment, and to destroy ourselves in a nuclear holocaust, comes from possession of high technology, which needs an advanced economy to support it. We would not have a rate of population increase which may well prove insupportable without the ability to produce far more commodities than ever before.

In solving economic problems we have done only too well, with each solution creating a new and bigger problem. Now we need the ability to handle political and ideological problems; in that area we have hardly advanced beyond the Sumerians of 3,500 BC.

from Ideological Commentary 54, Winter 1991.