Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.

 John Kenneth Galbraith

Dr. Kennedy Graham was a recent guest on Voices from the North The complete interview can be listened to below:

Ken teaches international politics and international law at the School of Law, Canterbury and Victoria University, and has previously worked for NGOs, the UN and as a diplomat. He was involved in negotiating the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, defending the policy as a NZ diplomat before the UN in Geneva and New York and was also Director of a UN programme in the Middle East. Having returned to New Zealand he now aspires to contribute his experience and perspectives to helping the country tackle the global problems we face.

Ken is now a Green Party MP and he was touring the Far North in order to share his perspectives on sustainable economic principles. He also enunciated some of the details of his Private Members’ Bill to augment the economic indicators (like inflation, GNP and GDP) that economists and politicians presently use when forming or justifying policy.

In economics, the majority is always wrong.

John Kenneth Galbraith

One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know.

John Kenneth Galbraith

 

Some of the ground covered in our talk included:

The ‘growth’ philosophy

The greatest myth of the age – that we will be better off if everything grows. The impact on the environment is becoming unsustainable. 

Population growth

We know world population now is nearing 7 billion and the prediction is that we will reach 9 billion by mid century.  Some claim that a sustainable world population is much lower than this. How can we cope with this rise in population and still maintain fair standards of living for all people?

The growing gap between rich and poor

Success is often measured in the amount of ‘stuff’ we have.   How can we create a more ‘holistic’ way of life that brings in social, environmental and spiritual aspects to balance the economic side?

Again the complete interview can be found here:

Find out more about Dr. Kennedy Graham here:

http://www.greens.org.nz/people/kennedygraham

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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I sometimes wonder how we got ourselves into this global silliness where so many of the things we wear and use are made in China and shipped in unbelievably huge container ships to destinations in almost every corner of the world. Famous brands are only rarely made in their countries of origin anymore.

As a consequence we’ve, in essence, exported many of our meaningful manufacturing jobs to China, India, and Southeast Asia. Unemployment grows in the West, the atmosphere, seas and earth get sullied with toxic chemicals and we all enjoy our electronic trinkets made largely from the by-products of oil. How sustainable is this?

I’ve just finished reading a book by Joe Bennett called, Where Underpants Come From. How’s that for a catchy and provocative title? Joe is a very funny writer in a Bill Bryson-ish way. He’s a popular columnist here in New Zealand (although his roots are in the UK and he’s lived five years in Canada). The subtitle to the book is From Checkout to Cotton Field – Travels Through the New China.

 As Joe Bennett points out the two Chinese characters for China represent the words Middle Kingdom. The Chinese have always been ethnocentric and, really, for most of the last two thousand-plus years they’ve led the world in innovativeness. The Chinese are not far from dominating world trade and commerce now. I encourage you to read Where Underpants Come From for a recent peak at the factories and life in the New China of today. You’ll laugh and you’ll wonder – as I do. Where is all this leading?

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.