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The genesis of this effoit comes fiom the conveigence of peisonal conceins within two
aieas of my expeiience anu inteiest. The fiist stieam is a thiity yeai expeiience in
uevelopment, specifically in the uiban economic poweihouses of emeiging economies,
anu the neeu to iethink the 'uevelopment paiauigm' in the light of the changeu
ciicumstances of the 21
st
Centuiy. The seconu stieam, on which the fiist neeus to be
baseu, is the neeu foi a bettei conceptualization of economic anu othei ielevant
systems' iole in impioving quality of life anu the systemic iisks to this goal.
These inteiests beg an impoitant fuithei question:
What, then, shoulu we consiuei to be the 'systems' ciitical to this inquiiy.
This blog will auuiess this question by investigating thiee 'stieams' of systems which I
consiuei ciitical to human uevelopment:
value systems;
Naiket systems anu the goals of the Institutions goveining maikets (ueteimineu
by values); anu
Systems of Innovation to builu Assets in the thiee classes of 'asset holueis' -
goveinment, enteipiise anu householus - the macio-level objectives of which,
anu the assessment of theii outcomes, aie also ueteimineu by values.
None of this ielates to economics as we know it (}im). I pleau naivety. Ny PhB is a
policy-baseu stuuy on pioject iisk. What uo I know.
But in my uefense, fiist pait, I iefei the ieauei to Auam Smith who wiote both a tieatise
on 'The Wealth of Nations', which we all have heaiu of, ANB one on 'The Theoiy of Noial
Sentiments' which, it is iepoiteu, Smith consiueieu as moie impoitant. I feel that the
linkage between values - comments on which coucheu as juugments of the vesteu
inteiest of economic actois peimeate The Wealth of Nations - anu economics neeus to
be ieestablisheu. Nany people seem to also feel this aftei the 2uu8 financial ciisis.
Thus, thioughout the site you will see iefeiences to Auam Smith foi S ieasons;
Fiist, his piactical appioach to *#+,%,-.+ economy pioviues a tiuly insightful
analysis of incentives in a /0.+ economy which we neeu to iegain;
Seconu Auam Smith's appioach to political economy as ievealeu in his bouy of
woik, commencing with The Theoiy of Noial Sentiments, pioviuing 'the ethical,
philosophical, psychological anu methouological unueipinnings of The Wealth of
Nations', encompasses both values anu the iole of institutions (incluuing ieligion
anu goveinment), an appioach I feel we shoulu ievisit; anu
Thiiu, Ni Smith is not the most engaging wiitei anu I'm uammeu if, having taken
the tiouble to slog thiough his tuigiu anu iepetitive piose, I'm not going to use
his insights to the maximum.
Fuithei in my uefense, seconu pait, I will tiy to ielate oui uiscussion to (cuiient)
economic theoiy, albeit peihaps not always 'mainstieam' economics.
You will see that the lanuing page uses Confucian teims. I use these because they aie a
veiy convenient shoithanu foi key value systems. uiven that Confucius liveu 4uu yeais
BCE, it is impiessive that his geneialisations (not the specifics of couise, some things
have moveu on) aie, I feel, still valiu.
I have also hau some fun with the illustiations which I have tiieu to ielate to the text
message.
In this investigation, I make no claim to full knowleuge. Rathei the opposite. That is why
this effoit is coucheu as a naiiative thiough the foium iathei than a book. In this way I
hope I can pioviue a stiuctuie that will enable people cleveiei than I to auvance the
investigation towaius a woiking theoiy.