Umair Haque discusses the broken relationship between institutions and people, why the economy is stagnant, and how to fix it.

Category: Philosophy, Video

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9 Responses to “Umair Haque on the Global Economy”

  1. Frwip says:

    Yes and no.

    Umair Haque is correct about the danger of the pervasive lack of trust between citizens and institutions (private and public) and the continuing erosion of what’s left of it. That trust must be (re)built and (re)gained.

    The problem is that he directs his message towards corporations. The notion that this reconquest can be the work of corporations or private citizens is fairly illusory. I wouldn’t call it Green Lanternism but close.

    Call me an old fogy if you want, but I don’t think that creating meaning and trust is within the capacity of a corporation nor that it is even desirable that it attempts or pretends to do that. Even a corporation that would achieve that – whatever ‘that’ means – will be viewed with amply deserved cynicism by its customers, who know full well that that trust can and will be betrayed as soon it becomes convenient for the corporation’s shareholders or executives.

    And further, the thirst for trust is not an ultimate motive. Behind it lies another demand which is far more fundamental : safety. Simply put, the average individual craves above all other things to live in the absence of fear: fear of political disorder, fear of ill health, fear of age, fear of criminality, etc.

    This is why even some of the most totalitarian societies managed to be collect fairly broad approval of their own population, for instance post-WWII Soviet Union under last decade of Stalin’s rule. It was an ultra-repressive hell for dissenters but for the greater number, the regime was actually delivering the goods of a fairly safe and stable life and of favorable perspectives for collective and individual improvement while being successful at keeping the populace ignorant of the more inconvenient truths (and yes, ignorance is indeed bliss). No wonder a lot of older Russians are still nostalgic for that era to this day.

  2. RW says:

    As we used to say back in the day, “right on, that’s righteous brother.”

  3. CyrilD says:

    The $70k figure was interesting. I guess sociology isn’t an exact science. I’ve seen studies that only documented significant happiness increases when people go from not being able to paying their bills, to being able to pay their bills. I thought the diminishing returns started after that, not at $70k.

    Many of his points reminded me of Seth Godin’s advocacy for the business world.

  4. bonalibro says:

    He’s right. Consumerism lost me as a believer in my mid-twenties, and I have never returned to the fold. I buy only what my family needs and our needs are very limited. I only wish my wife shared my disillusionment. It would make my life so much easier not to have her harassing me all the time with her artificially created wants.

  5. Greg0658 says:

    I saw this Friday nite and thought well of the pov ..
    http://billmoyers.com/episode/encore-how-people-power-generates-change/
    Marshall Ganz on a similar movement of thought

    and Frwip right on too .. “Simply put, the average individual craves above all other things to live in the absence of fear: fear of political disorder, fear of ill health, fear of age, fear of criminality, etc.”
    but
    something I read here in this big picture the quote “hard to get a man to understand a different pov if his job depends on him not understanding it”
    alas my pov .. we need an anti-capitalism meme momo .. but never gonna happen – its just to complicated

  6. Greg0658 says:

    ps – got thru the whole speeil now .. gotta add – he’s right on surviving on speeil’g .. aka selling talk
    (includes lawyers) (to a jury of everyday folk)

    but on the level of selling survival gear .. food, shelter, and something to do every minute of every day (work & recreation) those needs will never go away .. hense like water levels > seeks a balance (& it will get there)

  7. ciwood says:

    I think he is warm but misses the point. It is not private corporations that have lost our trust although they have. It is public institutions that are supposed to protect the average man and guarantee him justice and fairness. We expect government to punish evil doers and they have failed to protect us from bankers, drillers, polluters, etc. More and more, the average man looks upon public institutions as enablers of greedy corporations. The career path of regulators into highly paid bankers (SEC to Goldman Sacs) and elected legislators into highly paid lobbyists has destroyed our innocence. This mistrust causes us to reduce the risk we take and encourages us to be a little less law abiding. This is the breakdown of the American Dream.

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