Challenging The Pro-Growth Market

Written by Econintersect Guest

-- this post authored by James MacGregor Palmer, The Steady State Herald

Mark Carney’s Reith Lectures and the Need for a Radical Approach

“Society won’t settle for worthy statements followed by futile gestures. It won’t settle for countries announcing plans in Paris five years ago for 2.8 degrees warming, far too high, that they don’t even meet. Society won’t settle for companies that preach green but don’t manage their carbon footprints, or financial institutions who can’t tell us whether our money is on the right or wrong side of climate history."

 

mark.carney

Mark Carney, coming around but still a green growther. (Image: CC BY-SA 2.0, Credit: World Economic Forum)

These are not the words of an environmental activist, Green politician, or concerned steady stater. These are the words of a neoliberal former investment banker. A former governor not only of the central bank of his native Canada but also the Bank of England.

Mark Carney is the latest “significant international thinker" to be invited to deliver the BBC’s flagship annual lecture series: The Reith Lectures. In his four-part series, entitled “How We Get What We Value," Carney eloquently identifies many of the problems with the model on which many of the global West’s and North’s economies are based. But the solutions he proposes fall woefully short, offering more of the same when the changes we need will have to be more radical at this stage.

The Deity of the Market

Carney begins his first lecture with a story, spinning a narrative to shine a light on a fundamental truth:

At some point every North American child learns a sentimental story by an American writer, O. Henry. It tells the tale of a newlywed couple one Christmas Eve. Penniless and frantic to find a gift for her husband, Jim, Della sells her long tresses of hair and uses the proceeds to buy a chain for his beloved watch. When they are reunited for dinner in their small apartment […] she discovers that Jim has just sold his watch to buy a set of combs for her hair. He has no watch, she’s cropped her hair, and although they are left with gifts that neither can use, they realize how priceless their love really is. Now, when I first heard that story, it had its desired effect. I momentarily forgot about the hockey stick I’d been coveting and thought more about my mother’s need for new slippers. It’s in the giving that we receive.

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James MacGregor Palmer graduated from Newcastle University with a BA in Music with Politics in 2019 and is pursuing a master’s degree in International Journalism at the University of ...

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