By sanctifying selfishness, it has undermined community-mindedness and the role of co-operation in advancing our mutual interests. Voting has become a simple matter of “what’s in it for me and mine”, while businesses and industries have been licensed to lobby for preferment at the expense of everyone else. “In recent decades the balance between these instincts [of competition and co-operation] has become dangerously skewed: mutuality has been undermined by an extreme individualism which has weakened co-operation and polarised our politics,”
Since the late 1970s, however, Americans have talked less about the common good and more about self-aggrandisement; less “we’re all in it together” and more “you’re on your own”. There’s been “growing cynicism and distrust toward all the basic institutions of American society – governments, the media, corporations” and more.Thinking economists are grappling with why their profession has made our lives worse
Australian economists overwhelmingly back social distancing measures that slow the spread of coronavirus over the alternative of easing restrictions and allowing the spread of the disease to pick up.
But a significant minority, 9 of the 47 leading economists polled in the first of a series of monthly surveys, say they would support an easing of restrictions even if it did allow the spread to accelerate.
If economists are to help us deal with global warming, they need to start studying science.