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Neoliberal Economics: A Theater of the Absurd and Absurdity

Cartoon of the Day: Theater of the Absurd - 02.27.2019 economic Greek masks cartoon

Global Standardised Economics Education:

Teaching pearls of Wisdom or Indoctrination and  Propaganda?

Persuasion and Propaganda in Economic Education 

“There is no correlation between ethics and economics”-  Lord Kalms’ letter to the Times (08/03/2011): Ethics boys

Sir, Around 1991 I offered the London School of Economics a grant of £1 million to set up a Chair in Business Ethics. John Ashworth, at that time the Director of the LSE, encouraged the idea but had to write to me to say, regretfully, that the faculty had rejected the offer as it saw no correlation between ethics and economics. Quite. Lord Kalms, House of Lords 

‘ECONOMICS is “not a ‘gay science,” wrote Thomas Carlyle in 1849. No, it is “a dreary, desolate, and indeed quite abject and distressing one; what we might call, by way of eminence, the dismal science.”

‘But, happily today, some academic economists are discovering that their discipline is not really a “dismal science”, but a subject of beauty, elegance, relevance and virtue, if it was to return to its original roots, moral philosophy amid issues and questions of broad significance involving the fullness of human existence…’-  

Calling all academic economists: What are you teaching your students?

Dismal Scientists Discover the Truth: The Prize is not Noble and Economics is not a Science

Today, more than ever, our world needs each of us, all of us, to tap into the innate love, compassion, joy, beauty and wisdom that a good values-led education and economic understanding which can ignite the much needed passion in us to become the architects and builders of a better world, we are all yearning for. 

Thailand rural life Zen and Buddha 3D custom wall mural. Photo: Via pixabay

‘Western economics can be criticised as being based on the rationalisation of competitive behaviour and maximising profit for the benefit of a limited few, dependent upon the depletion of natural resources and the long-term degradation of our shared environment. 

Buddhist economics, meanwhile, is founded upon the interdependence of mankind and the environment, thereby providing well-being based on compassion for all sentient beings. Its goal is to maintain a sustainable environment, while affirming shared prosperity and a minimum of suffering for workers, customers, shareholders, and society.

Buddhist economics, treated as an academic topic, began with E. F. Schumacher’s essay Buddhist Economics, first published in 1966, and later in Small Is Beautiful (Schumacher 1973), in which the author offers forewarnings concerning problems associated with “excessive reliance on the growth of income, especially overwork and dwindling resources.” (Brown and Zsolnai, 497), as quoted by Prof. David Dale Holmes in  Buddhism and Economics

 Nota bene

Neoliberalism and Thatcherism: The Scary Horror Show of All Tricks and No Treats and Our Global Descent to the Nadir of Decadence

A Margaret Thatcher puppet

A Margaret Thatcher puppet from Spitting Image on display during the preview for

The Horror Show! exhibition at Somerset House. Photo via The Guardian

‘Our plight is rich in absurdity.’- Simon Jenkins, The Guardian 

How much more humiliation, exploitation, inequality, abject poverty for the many, obscene riches for the few , pain, selfishness, individualism, deregulation, privatisation, misery, austerity, corruption, mistrust, socio-political, economical, and environmental degradation, can a country take, before it fully explodes?

The time is now to fully bury the discredited and disgraceful Thatcherism and the neoliberal economics and flush them out in the dustbin of history.

Changing the captain, ‘selecting’ and ‘appointing’ a ‘new face’ at the top every few months or indeed, weeks, whilst keeping the same guilty and dishonourable ideological crew on board will not fool the nation anymore. We need to hear a different story with different storytellers, and more importantly, a different set of values, beliefs and philosophy. 

And yes, you are not mistaken: By and large, the same culprits who were in the discredited and humiliated cabinets of Boris and Liz are now in the cabinet of Rishi!! The Horror Show Continues! Is this democracy or hypocrisy? 

‘The new prime minister’s main redeeming quality is that he is not his predecessors. What a sorry waste of 12 years in power.’-Rafael Behr 

The Shaming of the out of touch millionaires and billionaires’ club, better known as the Nasty Tory Party

Their Greed Knows No Limit, No Shame!

‘The outcome of austerity policies in Britain and elsewhere has become painfully clear: increased child poverty and social misery; declining life expectancy; an increase in racial inequality; decaying schools and public health and other public services; and all-around catastrophe for disabled people.’...

The Broken Economic Model and the Inhumanity of the Lost Decade of Austerity

Austerity Kills and thus Austeriors are the Killers

Over 330,000 excess deaths in Great Britain linked to austerity, finds study

Rishi Sunak’s cabinet: rewards for failure

‘A long back catalogue of scandal and incompetence in government makes it impossible for the Tories to turn over a new leaf.’

Martin Rowson on Rishi Sunak's new team – cartoon | Opinion | The Guardian

 Illustration: Martin Rowson/The Guardian

Simply put, Thatcher was bad, inhumane and deceitful, but her toxic, cheating children – David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Ms. Dynimate, Liz Truss, and their like – are even worse, bigger liars, cheaters, more corrupt and hugely dishonest! They have had over 40 years to practise and make Thatcherism perfect!!

These are the times when we desperately need inspiring and healing words of wisdom, hope and beauty.

Buddhist Economics: Study of Economics as If People Mattered. Its time has Come

Do you wish to know why the world has fallen to its nadir of decadance? Do you wish to know why our lives have become less and less rewarding, meaningful or purposeful?

To my mind, the main culprit that has fooled and has brianwashed the world is the value-free, inhumane, and false neoliberal economics that is being taught by mainly neoliberal economists at all our universities the world over. The absurdity of values-less education has now created a values-less world with many emperors with no clothes, lest we forget!

I started teaching economics at universities in 1982. During these 40 years, never ever, did I see any sign of teaching economics as if people mattered, as if mother nature and our sacred earth was of any relevance or indeed value, worthy of nurturing and nourishing. 

When I myself was a student of economics for a long time (BA, MA and PhD), I never heard my professors talking about values such as humanity, spirituality, sympathy, empathy, love, kindness, compassion, generosity, abundance, the common good, friendship, cooperation, community, altruism, and such like and their relation to economic understanding, policies and action. It was all about scarcity, competition, exploitation of mother nature, profit maximisation, cost minimisation, the highest returns to the shareholders with no concern or care about the stakeholders.

Moreover, I started to wonder if I was studying economics or mathematics or physics and statistics. I was wondering what all these mumbo jumbo was about and I just do not know how I carried on and completed my studies including my PhD! Perhaps it was God’s way of empowering me, so that later on I can more forcefully, and with more authority, reveal, retell, and  highlight the crimes of neoliberalism and Thatcherism, and their false ideology which have been underpinned by their cheerleaders, the neoliberal economics and economists. 

The World brought down to its knees: The Fallacy of Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and their disciples

The Damning Impact of a Toxic Philosophy on America: The Tragedy of Ayn Rand

Economic Growth: The Index of Misery

The Mad, Bad Economist and his Mumbo Jumbo Curve of Destruction

Have We lost the Art of Knowing What it Means to Be Human?

Neoliberalism destroys human potential and devastates values-led education

What if Universities Taught KINDNESS?

Why Happiness Should be Taught at Our Universities

To All Striking Academic Colleagues in Britain: Turn the Strike to a Force for the Common Good

University Corruption and the Financial Crisis: The Theft of the Century by the Most 'Educated Thieves'- All with MBAs and PhDs! 

My Economics and Business Educators’ Oath: My Promise to My Students

Britain Has Become a Sinking Ship of Systemic Corruption, Cronyism and Chumocracy

Fat Cats: An invitation to dialogue

Taxes and the Common Good

What might an Economy for the Common Good look like?

Boris Johnson: This is How to Become a Force for Good

My Plea to Liz Truss: Our Country Needs Caring, Healing and Transformation

The Fall and Humiliation of Liz Truss should Herald a New Beginning

Paraphrasing the timeless words of Thomas Berry, the environmental, socio- economic, and  crises in humanity in general are fundamentally a spiritual crisis. Thus, this to my mind requires a different set of values and understanding of who we are and what it means to be human. 

Unless this is so, then changing prime ministers at the drop of a hat, carrying on doing what was done before, with a tweak here and a tweak there will not stop the sinking ship and will not lead to a better world.  

And now, once again, in a short span of time, we have another PM and government. To be honest with you, I was getting excited. Perhaps this time we can turn this sinking ship around, sail the calmer waters, building a better country and fairer, happier life for everyone.

My hopes were dashed, when Sunak was ‘appointed’ PM and then he chose that Cabinet!!  The same old, heartless Thatcherites who have brought the nation shame are again appointed to carry on their ill deeds!

Transformation, lest we forget, can only come about with a different set of values, philosophy and actions. To rehash what has failed and dress it up as something different or better, is nothing but the abdication of one's values, spirit and honesty.  

That's why I wish to offer ‘Buddhist Economics’, which simply put, is about understanding that the neoliberal/ Thatcherite  free-market model, devoid of any humanity, heart and soul isn’t producing the common good and the social good that we need, and it’s actually killing the earth, devaluing and debasing life, meaning and purpose.

Buddhist Economics - Schumacher Center for a New Economics

 Photo: Schumacher Center for a New Economics

Many of us, with an eye on truth and justice, and informed about the humiliation and despair of the false ideology of Thatcherism which has been experimented with disastrous consequences on the British people since the early 1980s, and informed about global events and motivated by love, compassion, and kindness feel the need for a profound economic transformation, based on totally different values, ways and direction.  

This is why today, I am excited and eager to put you in touch with Buddhist Economics, Small is Beautiful and other similarly inspiring thoughts, so that we can truly transform our country, making it more releavant to the lives of the many and not the few cheerleaders of Thatcherism.

In Search of Global Healing: Buddhist Economics- Cultivating Wisdom, Kinship and ‘Right Livelihood'

Ernst Friedrich Schumacher - Schumacher Center for a New Economics

 Photo: Schumacher Center for a New Economics

And now, given the abject and costly failures of neoliberal economics of greed, charlatanism and casino-capitalism, the fundamental question is: What alternative may we be able to offer?

Photo: neweconomics.org

Small is Beautiful: The Wisdom of E.F. Schumacher

(BUDDHIST ECONOMICS, Schumacher’s real and humane prescription to build a better world and a more rewarding life. He wrote that “while the materialist is mainly interested in goods, the Buddhist is mainly interested in liberation. “Whereas a Western economist would measure “the 'standard of living' by the amount of annual consumption, assuming . . . that a man who consumes more is 'better off' than a man who consumes less,” a Buddhist economist would think that “the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption.”)

The Journey to Sophia: Education for Wisdom

Is small the next big? The world is crying out for ‘Small is Beautiful’

GCGI is Our Journey in Search of Global Healing: A Pick from Our Archive

From Darkness to Light, from Despair to Hope, and from Folly to Wisdom: The Story of Our Journey of HOPE

"Passing of Knowledge" by Victor Tan Wee Tar

These are the times when we desperately need inspiring and healing words of wisdom, hope and beauty.

A Gift from our GCGI archive to help set us free from chaos and despair, so that we may achieve inner peace and spiritual calm, a more generous and rewarding imagination, inspiring and empowering us to take action in the interest of the common good. 

Life Lessons I've Learned in a World of Conflicting Ideas and Aspirations.

Journey to Healing: Let Me Know What is Essential