Michel Rocard – The Three Faults of Economy

In balance sheets, one only takes stocks, which may be evaluated toward currencies, into account. But pollution at outcome, resources exhaustion at entrance, and, moreover, involved evolution – I almost used the word degradation, but it is too normative – in human interactions, impacts the whole society.

The problem of absolute management, of participation to decision-making, comes up in organizations as well as elsewhere, and I am not sure we have to make it a special theme in the definition of enterprise, is dependant of the way we consider these principles in the global economic field. An awesome economist names René Passet wrote a big book on all this. And in my opinion, it is part of what we are forgetting.
So, first fault of economy, limitation to quantified-only human relationships. Second element, its pretence to isolate itself from other human disciplines, and, for example, an ersatz of economic misbehaviour and unemployment have been for Karl Marx, but also for Keynes, the main entrance of economy, since Milton Friedman and monetarists, and isn’t any more. Unemployment is a by-product of a misbehaviour that is addressed, in economy, by improving the mechanisms of markets, and in the meantime unemployment is left to public charity on one side, and to police on the other. It means that economy should work in deep imbrication with sociology. I even would like to say it should also work with anthropology. With sciences of nature at least.

Then there is a third fault, which lies in mathematics usage. Economy has suffered a lot, some of these deep thinkers have said it, from being insulted by physicists, chemists and mathematicians who called it a soft science, as opposed to hard science. This has created a kind of jealousy, an approach aiming at stiffening, at bringing more responsibility into its logical deductions. Thus a severe mathematization. This severe mathematization neglects the fact that entry data don’t allow a strict and exact quantification. You want a new suit, as an effect to your personal needs. This joint to actual wear and tear of your present suit. This may well combine itself with fashion effects, or even seasonal conditions. All this is hard to quantify. What’s left is… I heard – wasn’t it Carlos Gohn? – I don’t remember, a CEO from automotive industry who defined automotive as a fashion activity managed with industrial techniques.

Can we quantify securely enough for these quantifications to consequently drive limitations and exactness in logic, I’m not sure, I am even sure we cannot.

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