The poet and the economist would seem to be at odds.
- Poets often seek an intuitive detachment from the mechanics of the material world, preferring to focus on catalytic insights hidden in between the details.
- Economists often seek an arithmetical detachment from the blush of human experience, preferring to focus on what are believed to be the mechanics of material exchange.
But the truth is:
- Economics without ecological insight—economics without a focus on the dynamics of mutual thriving—is an incomplete science, a useful story about storytelling, but not a story about what is lived.
- It is the poetry of what happens at the human scale that matters, if numbers and theories are to affect the world for the better. No economic judgment can escape the rigor of that standard.
In other words:
- Economics without some implicit sense of the poetical risks degrading what is human in each of us—because we are not simply resources and statistics.
- To discount the human or ecological is to miss a critical piece of the overall math.
My work as poet and my analysis of economic policy ramifications in human experience are not the same work. These two ways of exploring what is knowable, or discoverable, differ in almost every way, but they are both part of a fabric of consciousness which looks for the sacred in human experience, and looks for ways to cultivate, propagate and defend what is sacred.
- We can build a political economy of virtuous abundance, if we focus on what matters at the human scale.
- We can also fail, monumentally and tragically, if we give in to the twisted mythology of infinite growth driven by the false assumption that “efficient” exploitation will have no corrosive impact.
A sense of the poet’s duty is required to illustrate that all true economics is nonlinear, dynamic, compounding, and onto-phenomenological—meaning: the question of what we live and so of how we perceive the meaning of our experience, is tied up in it.
Poetry is a way of creating new space for revealing what is human about our experience. That way of working should shape our approach to building a healthy economic future.
Why ‘Poet Economist’?
Because everything matters.
Some basic ideas for crafting humane solutions:
- Generative economics
- Environment is consequence: moving from negative externalities to mutual empowerment
- Fee and dividend: give economic power to citizens
- We need to transcend corrosive growth models
- Respect for complexity makes democracy possible
- Transparency to dissuade “get-away-with-it” finance
- Stakeholder interest (focus on human scale policy outcomes)
- Humane infrastructure makes life at the human scale better
- Costly pollutants can be replaced with clean, renewables
- The sustainable green economy is the future