Neoclassical economics denies it exists
According to microeconomic theory, we as consumers will never be fully satisfied with what we have. On a larger scale, the principal goal of macroeconomics is perpetual growth
— we come together as insatiable individuals to demand endlessly expanding production.
I love economics as an analytic framework for examining and modeling the world’s systems, but I believe in the bliss point.
In contrast to the idea that something more can always make us better off, the bliss point is an amount of consumption that maximizes happiness. It’s not infinite, even with unlimited wealth.
At the macro level, our economy may already produce enough for each of us to reach our personal bliss point, if only the output of society were spread less lopsidedly. We might consider cutting slices more evenly before deciding that we need a bigger pie to make us all happy, which is the preset program in today’s economics.
The question that drives me to write is this: How can we update economics to harmonize more closely with reality? I draw inspiration from fields like behavioral economics and ecological economics, which work tirelessly on this monumental undertaking.
To overhaul our economic models to more accurately represent how humans, ecosystems, and markets behave, we will have to incorporate the ideas and perspectives of disciplines as diverse as psychology, political science, anthropology, geography, and of course climatology. I aim to take part in this (r)evolution in economic thinking.