Re: “Economy Tops Agenda” at the first ministers’ conference in Regina, August, 2009
I don’t remember exactly who said, “It’s economy, stupid.” I think it was one of the former U.S. Presidents. But it seems that everybody is required to speak about economy nowadays. It dominates the headlines, and is a top priority for all politicians. You can get away with murder (of environment) if it is for the economy. Against this backdrop, David Suzuki said last Sunday, August 2, on a CBC Special program that, though I can not quote his words exactly, economy today is like some holy religious object of yesteryears, to which people were obliged to worship, give offerings, and even sacrifice virgins. Surely there must be other issues as important as economy; education, environment, the future of our planet, happiness or wealth, the quality of the health care system, war or peace, etc.
It is ironical that the believers of free market economy give reality to the dictum of the Great Satan of capitalism, Karl Marx. He said what counted more than anything else in society was economy, and everything else like art, literature, ethics, religion, and values were created as the instruments by and for those who dominated the economy in order to keep it under their control. Religion that promised “a pie in the sky when you die” worked very well to pacify the slaves, for example.
A well functioning economy can be destructive if it doesn’t have a goal or has a wrong one. Nazi Germany was the most efficient economy at the time, yet it was a well-oiled machine of destruction and murder. China today is the most successful economy in terms of growth. But it is under dictatorship. People have no political freedom nor freedom of expression. Economies of many African countries are dismal But I found more happy people there than in many other wealthy places.
I believe that economy is important. But it is an instrument. It is a vehicle for humans to move from point A to point B. I agree that it’s important to speak about economy. But also we must know what kind of the world we want to live in. Too much emphasis placed on economy in the last few decades nearly destroyed the whole global system. The great guru of popular wisdom Yogi Bera said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you ain’t get there.”