It is worthwhile to think thoughts through to their logical conclusion, e.g. tax reform. What does a tax system look like that is both socially just and ecologically accurate and guarantees a minimum income for all citizens? A century and a half ago, John Stuart Mill considered only the taxation of consumption to be socially just. What a nonsense to tax performance, whether that of a worker or a manager – performance benefits the community. But by consuming goods, the total amount of which is always and necessarily limited, each of us limits the consumption of his fellow human beings. However, a progressive consumption tax is only conceivable with today’s technical means. Ten years ago, I proposed such a system in “Wohlstand und Armut” (Metropolis). It will never be realized in this logically uncompromising form, but the direction is clearly marked out. Only in one point did I not go far enough. Herman Daly, the great American pioneer of ecology, went a decisive step further. It is not possible, he argued, to curb the consumption of resources through taxes, but only through capping, i.e. through steadily decreasing upper limits, e.g. for the consumption of coal, oil, gas etc. (published as paperback and Amazon Kindle edition). See:
When studying and trying to understand the past, we always do so in order to cope with the present and be better equipped for the future – that’s a truism. But our endeavors become difficult when the past provides us with contradictory signals so that the future turns into mystery. Then it can happen that our certainties waver and we look for completely new orientations and even concepts. Continue reading Future – God’s eighth Day of Creation?
Ten logical objections and empirical arguments against persistently held dogmas in current economics
The principle of neoliberalism may be summarized in the following formula: The best way of guaranteeing a maximum performance for the economy is to keep government entirely out of its sphere. Its role should be confined to ensure the safety of personal property, which it does by using police and justice to this very purpose. Continue reading Neoliberalism: Death of a pseudo-science
In my opinion the underlying reason for the impending disintegration of Europe is free trade policy as pushed by Germany (see my essay the “The ugly German – a specter is coming back”). I am, of course, aware that this view is diametrically opposed to accepted wisdom as to be found in economic textbooks. Therefore, I would like to emphasize at the outset that I do not consider those textbooks to be wrong – their theory is, indeed, hard to refute and at first glance it seems to be morally sound as well. In my new book, “From Crisis to Chaos”, I even speak of “neoliberal idealists” – a wording which may sound rather queer to some ears (1). But if they are honest, neoliberals certainly strive for the best. Unfortunately, despite of all their endeavors, they always achieve the worst, and for this there is a very simple and basic reason: Their theory and the world we happen to live in, do not share much of a common ground. Continue reading Economic decline and the doctrine of free trade