In what type of civilization are we living? Do we live in an Age of Economics – an age in which economic forces are among the dominant ones in our world, and in which economists exert a powerful influence in government policy and politics, business and finance, and society as a whole?
What are the visible and invisibles rules and forces that affect and shape our daily lives and decisions? How should we plan, make decisions and do our best to live a long and prosperous life in this system?
Global capitalist civilization faces existential threats on a planetary scale, such as Climate Change, environmental degradation, armed conflicts fought for territorial disputes, ideological differences and economic interests, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, extremely high degrees of inequality and poverty, economic crises and pandemics, extreme political movements, anxieties related to rapid technological change, and the problem of living on a crowded planet.
The objectives of this project are to shed light on the most salient challenges facing human civilization, explore the role of economics and the inner workings of capitalism, and heighten people’s awareness of both the economic system in which they live and work, and the role of economics in understanding this ever-changing system.
The core concept of Age of Economics is to gain the insights from as diverse a group of thinkers as possible about economics and global capitalist civilization. As the first part of this project, we are interviewing 52 thought leaders – some famous, some less-well-known – from across the world over 52 weeks. We began on November 1, 2020. Our overarching objectives are to go beyond economics as it is practiced in the West, East, North or South, to go beyond geography, culture, race, religion, politics, and geopolitics, to transcend the political spectrum, with the ultimate aim of seeking a greater understanding of and deeper insights into the civilizational air we breathing and the societal water we are drinking on a daily basis. We have 8 major question categories:
Why does economics matter?
What are the differences between economic science (academic economics) and economic engineering (policymaking)?
What role does economics play in society? Does it serve the common good?
Economics provides answers to problems related to markets, efficiency, profits, consumption and economic growth. Does economics do a good job in addressing the other issues people care about: climate change and the wider environment, the role of technology in society, issues of race and class, pandemics, etc.?
As we live in an age of economics and economists – in which economic developments feature prominently in our lives and economists have major influence over a wide range of policy and people – should economists be held accountable for their advice?
Does economics explain Capitalism? How would you define Capitalism?
No human system to date has so far been able to endure indefinitely - not ancient Egypt or Rome, not Feudal China or Europe, not the USSR. What about global Capitalism: can it survive in its current form?
Is Capitalism, or whatever we should call the current system, the best one to serve the needs of humanity, or can we imagine another one?