Wednesday, August 24, 2011

against productivity

In my new book, Stealth of Nations, I have a chapter I call 'Against Efficiency,' in which I argue that we have deified market efficiency at the expense of employment and opportunity. In a similar vein, here's Brazilian social thinker Ladislau Dowbor, with a brisk jeremiad against productivity. Money quotes:
In Brazil the combination of perverse mechanisms of the market – the more you throw the indirect costs to  society, the more competitive you are – and the mechanisms of corporate control over political decisions, cause the destruction of forests, pollution of water sources, the accumulation of unemployed people in urban peripheries, and the deepening of social imbalances through the appropriation of the results of production by few national and international groups....
What we need, to put the numbers straight, is for each municipality to work out the complete picture of the activities in its territory, with a battery of indicators of quality of life, allowing the community to answer basic questions: Are we living better? Is the path we have taken sustainable? Are the diverse factors of production – including the work-force – used in a balanced way?

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