Building Sustainable Communities: The Life and Thought of Henry Cox
Paperback – July 7, 2016
This lovely book features writing by veteran Green Economist Henry Cox who writes authoritatively in a most engaging and accessible style which is hard to put down. His vast and varied practical experience of implementation makes this a most remarkable read.
Specifically, as the industrial era took over, ‘The Economy’ was seen, by Smith, Ricardo, Marshall and others, to have changed to include what was done by firms (bodies corporate), often done for firms. That is beyond the original concept of Oikia as the households and estates in Greek city states. But Neoliberal Economics came to exclude the original context; and now Green Economics is re-introducing it.
Economics became a subject (discipline) in universities and spread through the Education system; partly as the topic was shifted away from Moral Philosophy as students came to prefer Science to Theology. For a period Economics claimed to be a Science, but probably is now in ‘Social Science’ – as distinct from Natural Science. Now we have a mixture of Economics, Politics and Media that rarely realise that Policies are (or should be) a type of Design.
As so often, the tendency is to reductionism, to narrowing down, as in “what is your top priority” (meaning that all else will be ignored, system design absent – but your top item is not promised). Constitutions are a limited form of Objectives; though rarely showing how the results should be assessed.We are dependent on Learning – but calling schooling “Education” may confuse Clearly our species is utterly dependent on learning; but what is learnt, and so what is taught, is crucially important, now that total knowledge is too vast to learn more than a bit of it; though some can now be accessed relatively easily.
Awkwardly the term ‘Education’ implies that what is taught is desirable and needed, but often means whatever is taught by adults to the young. Schooling in England appears to have evolved from what was taught to the few who became spiritual and temporal leaders, then extended to keeping the children out of the way when urban industry found they were no longer wanted as workers.- under the spinning frames, up the chimneys. But Education by professionals has now been expanded to a much longer age range and has become a vast expense – though providing many jobs.
The earliest years are still allowed to be taught within households – “mother tongue” referring to a vital stage, the acquisition of the first language.
As an introduction to heterodox teaching, I remember that in school, in Biology, we were taught “continental drift” as scientific fact for, in the 1940s, evolution and more of Biology was denied by Geologists who held to their dogma of “mountain building”, until they switched to Tectonics around 1960. Interesting as Geology, e.g. Lyell’s book on Geology, given to Darwin as a boarding present on the Beagle, had started by tackling the dogmas that had got attached to religions.
But it seems that Academia, even in Science, follows its origin, in Kemet (ancient Egypt) and elsewhere, as a system to propagate dogma – e. g. the need for a huge temple and acolytes to avoid the sun being swallowed by demons during his daily journey under the earth to get back to rise in the East next morning. So I find the denial of the obvious truth of our now wrecking this planet as a feature of the established, included in academia – in Economics and Business still based on an assertion that ‘natural resources are free and freely available’.
I came across the flyer of 1983 for the large green Gathering, of some 3000 people, on the site near Glastonbury – the CND music, etc, festival being banned that year. The rules were few, no amplified music, use the toilets provide, but missed out was “no dogs” – and those brought soon went feral, formed two rival gangs (packs) and marked out their territories – on the tents.