That’s what I’m after from his book - thoughts to chew on. Historical studies would seem to indicate that when a system is this far gone, it can’t be fixed. I’m not worried about whether it can be fixed or can’t - in the end - the long run - it most certainly will be fixed by the laws of nature, if I can put it that way.
But it is honorable to try, and it seems to me we are always leaving out near Earth space, both materials and energy. I will be interested to see if Joseph Stiglitz touches on these given his physics interest.
Then there are the unknowns. These can pop up, and who knows what that will do, for better or worse.
It seems to me that irresponsible people, and criminals, are the real problem, and these people crop up no matter the system, from the tribes to today’s experiments with democracy, communism, socialism, fascism, royalty - kings, queens, emperors and what not.
Stiglitz does talk about ‘growth’ repeatedly, and I am continually wondering if we could survive de-growth, simplification, enough and not more, and still make progress - without melting down the entire system.
I can’t see any real need in capitalism, for example, for short selling, options or derivatives - and I was a bona fide stockbroker for 11 months back in '88, about the same time as Michael Lewis, author of “The Big Short”. I saw what he saw, close up - a system designed to allocate capital in the hands of con men - and that on both sides, i.e., the financial industry and its users, i.e., the public, i.e., we the people - many looking for the quick and easy get rich stock or trade. Irresponsible people in other words, all the while Antoine de Saint Exupery pointed out in his book “Wind, Sand and Stars” that “To be a man is, precisely, to be responsible” He was a pilot, as I am (or was), and that’s what I learned flying - to accept total responsibility. It is the same mountaineering, or indeed, in any venture where real skin is in the game - life and limb.
In our insulated and safe society - is it any wonder that we have forgotten this, especially when hyped by a massive and almost all pervasive spin industry which seeks to negate any thought of the common good, or our instinctive and genetic connections to each other - honed over millions of years ?
Maybe he isn’t optimistic - but just chewing those ideas out loud, as he sees it as his obligation to do so ?
What we call economics is a misnomer - it is a system of bean counting - to see who is ahead - more beans = success.
That is not economics - nor is capitalism necessarily a racket.
What we have today is not economics - nor capitalism - what we have is a zero sum racket.
If true - that’s a fundamental thing to know, as is the fact that we can if we so desire bring CO2 back down to whatever number we choose, and get energy directly from the Sun.
It is not hopeless - rather a test.
Are we smart enough, strong enough - to be allowed to live on this planet ???