A few years back there was a newspaper report about what was apparently portrayed as a Marketing masterstroke: a restaurant owner had asked his bikinied waitresses to go topless to counter the drop in business in his small-town restaurant in one of the north-eastern States in the US. The present discussions about the global Economic situation, featuring mostly stuff like negative rates and Quantitative Easing, seem to be nearly as mindless as that poor fellow’s.
Economics no more appears to be about people; about the production, exchange and consumption of goods and services by and among individuals and nations. Economics is actually just the book-keeping part. It is people who matter. But nowadays you don’t find them in most of the learned discourses on the subject. Instead, it is mostly about Capital, its manifestations, behavior and ends. Peopleless Planning and Jobless Growth have become normal and acceptable. No genuine solution to any Economic issue can be crafted unless decision-makers first consider the needs and capabilities of the people involved.
The business daily I take in brought up two articles today. One was about negative interest rates. The other was about declining bank profits in the Eurozone. Neither had a word about people. Yet, the spread of negative interest rates must be a matter of grave concern to the millions of retirees who live on pensions and will have to depend more on unpredictable financial markets for their bread and butter.
The shift of Economics away from People to Capital, and the declining interest rates, indicate that owners and managers of money have shifted from investing in production, exchange and consumption of goods and services to the financial equivalents of sleight-of-hand and jugglery in their pursuit of Profits. People in developed countries, especially in the EU Zone, seem to have lost the spirit of enterprise and their traditional work ethic, both of which need a firm foundation of good faith if they are to thrive.
Have the vibrant European societies been destroyed by the sybarism of the wealthy, and the consequent spread of “liberal” ideas that were fed by “intellectuals” to the common man, aided and abetted by the self-serving but short-sighted interests of Capital?
Naked waitresses and Negative Rates are not going to help. They are just symptoms of the bad times, of the underlying decline of vibrant communities. Economists should stop theorizing them into “knowledge” and start waking up to realities to MAWPLA.