Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
OK, first things first, we as a community have to learn not to preface everything with the phrase "In these troubled economic times..." or some such mantra. Not only is it the sort of thing where hearing it over and over makes it true, it is the sort of thing that is not helpful, because the economy has not changed materially since before the crash. This is important to understand, because what it suggests is that the loss of wealth was of wealth that did not exist in the first place - it was largely fictitious wealth created by (shyster) credit markets. Real harm will be caused, though, if we act as though nothing is of value any more. We need to, for now, continue creating, selling, producing and consuming. But we also need to retool, because our economic patterns are not sustainable. The only way out of this is to replace, in relatively short order, fictitious value with real value. We don't do that by pulling in the reins, managing conservatively, being 'fiscally prudent'. GM cannot save its way out of bankruptcy; Nortel cannot improve its $0.00 stock valuation by cutting back. We can, all of us, build an environmentally responsible, socially just, and progressive market economy based on fairness and humanity. Real value, produced by real people. To proceed in any other direction will most certainly unleash substantial and needless misery throughout what will have formerly been called "the developed world".

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 28, 2022 04:07 a.m.