Monday, November 7, 2011

Measure vs. Immeasure, the limits of economics

A new kind of economy is coming. It has multiple values and translates these into multiple measures for a business and industry.

But there is a caveat to this.

We must be aware that there are limits on economics, that metrics themselves have limits. Everything has a limit in the world. These limits in the new economy are about themes that cannot be measured. The world is too diverse to allow measure a universal reign.

Against measure is Immeasure, the “unmeasureable”. Many issues are simply beyond measure. We shall find personal issues that transcend measure, spiritual issues that escape measure, intangibles that we cannot begin to measure, values that we will refuse to submit to measure, creative talents that refuse to be contained in a metric...and more. In the gray areas we will explore and argue endlessly.

Where our measure ends we will find other social institutions, for economic institutions are not the whole of society and culture. There are many more organizations and associations in a nation, each is important and serves a purpose. So while a Metric Economy brings society into its web, it does so only upon an economic and metric basis. And much of our behavior and concepts and ideals lie outside of this community. Family, education, government, art, religion, community and more are separate institutions and behaviors.

Thus, one institution strives to be a Diverse, and yet in the end it is too narrow to be a Diverse, it must reckon with a bigger Diverse outside itself. Another way to say this is that we want a manifold world of multiple values, and to have multiple values you must have multiple institutions and multiple powers in a society, not a single institution that monopolize power.

Further, economic measure meets a wall when it buts up against the Individual. The individual has a vast inner Diverse perhaps infinite, and she or he will not submit to a simple and narrow economic metric box.

Thus, this economic thesis has a limit. Limits are important to grasp, for limits delineate different things, they signify differentiation, the end of one thing and the beginning of another thing. 

The first error made in economic theory was to jettison a rich mix of Human values for a single value: profit. This must be corrected so that we can create multi-value economies.

The second error we could make is apply an economic measure to institutions that exist in a separate sphere of values and ethics, that is, try and reduce all culture to commerce.

Thinking in terms of multiple perception and diversity would help us not make these 2 historical errors.

Cage Innoye

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