File: An Economics for well-being
Rajni Bakshi, September 2008
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Over the last few years, the critique of market driven globalisation has been presented in great detail from many different vantage points. This file explores some dimensions of the search for alternatives.
‘Another world is possible’ is a slogan that conveys some of the passion behind this search. This is also the motto of the World Social Forum gatherings, which have now become a sustained global process with regional and local roots. To what extent is this an expression of wishful thinking, a dream and to what extent is it a claim that can be substantiated? This file, exploring how ‘Another World is Possible’, serves as both statement of intent and a pointer to conceptual as well as practical work in different sectors. There is no ready-made single model for that ‘other’ – more egalitarian, just and ecologically sustainable – world, but there is a wealth of scattered, partly coalescing and rapidly evolving trends that can give hope.
The closing decades of the 20th century were dominated by the pervasive power of the TINA doctrine, namely the claim that ‘There Is No Alternative’ to the magic of the free market. Opposition to the expanding power of the global capital found dramatic expression at the massive street protests against the World Trade Organization at Seattle in 1999. The subsequent rise of the World Social Forum from 2001 challenged the TINA doctrine with the counter claim that ‘There Are Many Alternatives’ (TAMA).
However, for the ‘TAMA’ claim to be meaningful, it is important to question and challenge some of the fundamental premises of the prevailing dominant framework of economics. Otherwise, TINA does indeed seem to be an undeniable thruth. The term TAMA can apply to a wide variety of innovative and transformative initiatives. This includes a brilliant array of pioneering work on technologies that are decentralized, people empowering and ecologically sustainable. However, in this file we will focus on the emergence of New Economics thinking and some examples of how it is working in action.
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