Nucleus and Nation: Scientists, International Networks, and Power in India
Future social science must encompass all the dimensions of human life — political, economic, organizational, technological, social, psychological, cultural and ecological — as aspects of a single integral reality. All facets of the complex multidimensional development of human society are founded on more fundamental processes of human development. The quest of social science is not for impersonal knowledge but effective power and the only legitimate power science can seek is the power to realize the welfare and well-being of all human beings.
For that it must become a purposeful and value-based body of knowledge reintegrating science with philosophy, ethics and spiritual values. Let us recall that Adam Smith was a moral philosopher in search of an effective formula to promote human welfare, not an impartial natural scientist in search of impersonal universal truth. Economic value is inseparable from human values. The dream of unlimited material production and consumption confronts an impenetrable wall resulting from the depletion of precious, non-renewable material resources and the destructive impact of unbridled, wasteful human activity on the biosphere.
Economic value must also reflect ecological value. So also, human security cannot be assured so long as both humanity and the ecosphere are threatened by the calamitous prospect of accidental or intentional nuclear detonations. The very existence of nuclear weapons on earth represents an existential threat to civilization. But the really confining limits are not material or technological, but conceptual. For human ingenuity has amply demonstrated the capacity to produce more from less.
The scope for further increasing the productivity of available resources is enormous. The real barriers are the limits imposed by prevailing ideas and values. We are unwitting and unknowing prisoners of our own conceptions. The greatest need of humanity today is for creative leadership in thought that challenges the conventional wisdom and dogma which often masquerade as scientific knowledge.
Society as it functions today is the product of past experiences, developed power structures and vested interests which present an inertial resistance to our future evolution. The want of leadership or political will so often lamented is founded on outmoded concepts, beliefs and values waiting to be challenged, exposed and reformulated.
The political will and power to abolish slavery and end colonialism had first to attack the intellectual foundations on which these archaic institutions were based. Courageous leadership in thought must precede effective leadership in action. Beyond all that we know and conceptualize lies a limitless vista of uncertainty. From this domain issue ever new challenges to our knowing and our security. Uncertainty in physics is the basis for all physical systems: molecules, atoms, even nuclei, would not exist without uncertainty. The uncertainty in social systems is even greater for the laws governing society and its development constantly evolve, whereas the laws of the physical universe have remained unchanged for billions of years.
Black swans are an ineluctable characteristic of social life.
In a sense, all human action is an endeavor to manage the risks and conquer the uncertainty by greater knowledge and more effective social organization. But it is a never ending quest. For the very uncertainty in human systems which is the source of the ignorance and insecurity we seek to eliminate is also the source of new ideas, inspiring values, marvelous innovations, more abundant wealth and richer creative potential that are the product of evolving human consciousness.
Uncertainty is only another term for the Unknown or the Unknowable, which is our future destiny. Our evolutionary conception needs also to embrace this limitless, indefinable source of human potential. Session I: Human Capital. The session focused on the development of a human-centered economic theory that recognizes the key role of the Individual in social change. A Human Capital-intensive approach lays emphasis on original thinking, creativity and inventiveness, freedom and human rights, entrepreneurship, education, training and development of social networks and other social institutions Social Capital needed for the full development and expression of individual capacities.
Human centered theory counters the mechanistic and reductionist approach to social science with one that recognizes the unlimited potential of the human being. The initial presentation by Andrea Vacchi on dark matter served as an apt metaphor for the unexplored potentialities of human capacities waiting to be discovered and developed.
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Ana Stavljenic Rukavina focused on the challenges of an aging society and stressed the relationship between economic growth, ageing and the decline of fertility and the resulting social consequences. Alberto Zucconi stressed the need for a systematic understanding of economics in its relationship to bio-psycho-social aspects of society and for the development of the types of intelligence needed to acquire the new competencies needed.
Session II: Full Employment. The employment challenge has become a global challenge of greatest importance that calls for a better understanding of the multiple factors affecting job creation and retention, such as trade and investment policies and practice, including outsourcing; demography, including changes in age structure and migrations; technological development, including Internet and ICT; governmental policies, including tax incentives, education and training; and finally environmental endowment, including resource depletion.
The first speaker — Azita Berar Awad — called for action to resolve the youth unemployment crisis spreading out around the world with 75 million of million young people being un-employed. She recommended a new concept of a policy package to resolve the problem based on the following five pillars:.
Pre-employment macroeconomic policies. Integration of still fragmented labor market. Encouragement policies for entrepreneurship and self-employment. Equal treatment gender, race, etc.
Nucleus and Nation: Scientists, International Networks and Power in India by Robert S. Anderson
Garry Jacobs appealed for abandoning conventional thinking that prevented us from full employment. He indicated that contrary to common beliefs, the global job growth was faster than explosive population growth since and the same long trend can be maintained in future. To resolve the employment challenge, we need to move away from nation-centric theories and models toward human-centered global perspective complemented by new economic performance indicators showing the contribution of employment to human wealth.
He argued further that vast unmet social needs combined with underutilized human and social capital set a solid foundation for moving toward full employment. For that reason, there is an urgent need to develop a new Social Theory of Full Employment. Mirjana Radovic-Markovic focused her presentation on a global problem of aging workforce, particularly increasing share of those over 50 years old from Europe through North America to Asia, particularly Japan and China. Unfortunately, she discovered that those over 50 are often discriminated on that market, in governmental policies and by the existing stereotypes.
It leads to human suffering and significant economic losses of unemployed experienced workforce. In order to avoid those negative consequences of age discrimination and establish equal opportunity rights for those over 50 she recommended that the existing economic theory of employment be revised and that her model of employment for aging people be followed, which will lead to full employment.
The last speaker was Antonio Sfiligoj , who offered a practice-based collaborative entrepreneurial model of employment. Coming out of existing Austrian, Dutch, German and Luxemburg experiences with full or almost full employment, he argued that the key is a new investment model in coaching entrepreneurs in newly created, small innovative firms, which are the most important for reaching full employment.
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He recommended utilizing crowdsourcing infrastructure for financing such innovative projects, in addition to financing from structural governmental funds, business angels and venture capital. The discussion raised the role of institutional, including trade unions and policy factors, including easy and generous welfare benefits contributing to unemployment in developed economies. The current market structure with high concentration of financial institutions leads to overvaluation of financial assets particularly speculative capital hedge funds, future options and others derivatives , which often are low taxed and an undervaluation of human capital, which is usually highly taxed.
The technological factors affecting the labor market such as robotization, ITC and e-business were also mentioned. The Academy made significant progress at Trieste in advancing the discussion beyond the level of critiquing the deficiencies in current economic theories. It became clear that the current failures and apparent limitations of our economic system are the result of faulty, limiting dogma, which all too often passes for rational scientific theory.
Therefore, the first requirement is a willingness to re-examine premises to determine whether they arise from inherited notions, power structures and prevailing values or from economic fundamentals.
Liberating our thought from past conventions is the most important step toward founding a true science of economics. Orio Giarini began by challenging several such premises, especially the notion of market equilibrium, which he described as a tautology rather than a real market phenomenon. He stressed that economy is in a constant process of evolution and the equilibrium dynamics could at most be applied to a particular moment in time.
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Moreover, current economic doctrine evolved in the context of the Industrial Revolution when transactions involved discrete products sold at a specific point in space and time. Today, three-quarters of all transactions involve the delivery of services, most of which are consistent of vast delivery systems such as education and healthcare, where the cost incurred over the entire life cycle of the system often cannot be accurately known until long after the actual point of delivery.
This raises fundamental questions relating to the notion of economic value. Robert Hoffman pointed out that there is no intrinsic relationship between price and value.
Value cannot be measured monetarily. Price is what we make. The market is particularly poor at capturing the value of natural resources and the value to future generations. In the modern knowledge-based service economy, the notion of value must be extended to take into account utilization value over time.
Nucleus and Nation: Scientists, International Networks, and Power in India
The boundaries of economics need to be extended in several directions to encompass new dimensions. First, the boundary between the monetarized and non-monetarized sectors is constantly shifting. We arbitrarily assign value to that alone which involves monetary exchange. Second, the boundary between politics and economics is purely arbitrary, for there would be no such thing as market were it not for the legal and regulatory framework within which exchange takes place. Third is the paradoxical boundary posed by uncertainty.
Ostensibly, the role of economy is to manage risk and reduce uncertainty. Yet, the uncertain is also the source of all human creativity, new invention, and future potential. Like the Internet, all future discovery and wealth creation will emerge from the uncharted unknown. Fourth, valid economic science must fully take into account the relationship between production, social welfare, ecology and ethics. The discussion focused on the need for a human-capital-intensive theory of economics. Gerald Gutenschwager challenged the very notion of a separate science of economy.
Finally, there was an overriding consensus that unlike physical science, social science must be goal-oriented and value-based. It is worth noting that Adam Smith considered himself a moral philosopher with a global perspective dedicated to promoting social welfare for all people and all nations. Financial systems are intended as a means to support the real economy and promote human welfare.
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- Scientists, International Networks, and Power in India.
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- Nucleus and Nation.
Graeme Maxton argued that speculative investment is unnecessary and destructive of the real economy. The laws of society are a question of choice, of values. We have to counter the inherent human tendency to create marvelous instruments such as money and markets and then enslave ourselves to our creations. Our task is not to discover immutable natural laws of society but to learn how to fashion society to meet social objectives. Session IV: Revaluing Nature.