The risks of economic narrow-mindedness

It is all too tempting to judge an economy’s health simply by its growth rate. No big wonder then that many economic policies are devised with growth as their only goal. However, this approach grossly simplifies the complexity of an economy’s inner workings. Rather than searching for the one perfect signal of economic success, we should take the opposite angle and try to understand what could go wrong. Today, I’ll offer a more detailed sketch of this concept to illustrate how our own economic narrow-mindedness makes us susceptible to economic failure, i.e., how a singular focus on growth blinds us for many important aspects of economic health.

How economies fail – More from Jane Jacobs

How do you know that an economy is healthy? The standard answer to this seemingly simple question is: It grows! While growth is an important hint at economic success, making it the only indicator would be far too simplistic. But instead of searching for the one perfect signal of economic success, I suggest a comprehensive review of the different ways for an economy to fail: acknowleding what can go wrong in an economy thus becomes the starting point for a more nuanced and realistic picture of economic health. Today, I want to frame such a picture.

Rethinking value

Our values shape our views of life, of good and bad, of right and wrong. We hold our values dear as guiding stars that give us fundamental orientation. They are the long-standing core of our cultures, traditions, and beliefs. And over time, we have constructed our social, economic and legal institutions on the foundation of shared values.
However, our values have changed drastically in the historic past. And I’ll argue that they will morph again in the near future as the Digital Revolution is in full swing.

Rethinking trust – in technology

We are engulfed in technology in our homes, at our workplaces, in our spare time: every moment of our everyday lives. We rely on technology such much that the question whether we trust it doesn’t easily come to our minds. And there was little need to ask that question – until recently. But with information technology pervading literally every aspect of our lives today, we cannot evade that question any longer.

Rethinking trust – in humans

Trust is the essential currency in human interaction, it is the indispensible basis for the many unwritten contracts we enter every single day. Trust is the glue that keeps social groups together and the grease that lets these groups act, and interact, smoothly. Trust is so foundational to human society that we take it as just that: the eternal fundament of our culture. I’ll argue that digital technologies are gradually eroding that fundament, causing cracks in the foundation of our society.