Friday, February 18, 2011

Hazel Henderson

What I have been trying to do for 20 years is to change the debate about development and move it outside of the box marked "economics."...Trying to run an economy using only such economic indicators as the gross national product is rather like trying to fly a Boeing 747 with a single oil pressure gauge. What we need to do is fill out the instrument panel.

Hazel Henderson (in a 1988 interview)

Hazel Henderson is a British-born (1933) American citizen who is concerned with how the technological changes of our time alter how we live. Some of the alterations are pernicious, but some are merely confusing. For instance, academia business and government are adapted to analysis and reductionism -- to things instead of relationships -- but our understanding of the world increasingly demands synthesis. Henderson is essentially conservative, but according to the perversity of our time, any "conservatives" who even know her name would know that she believes economics is subsumed by ecology, and think of her as as leftist.

Henderson believes that industrialism and free-market economics represent a brief anomaly in human history. She rejects the belief that human well being demands technological progress. Simultaneously experiencing a more global understanding of existence and the limits of industrialism shocks us and seems paradoxical. Increased technological complexity makes laissez-faire economics unworkable and makes democracy difficult, because none of the players -- you, me, Obama, the Tea Partiers, al Quaeda -- has enough information to make intelligent analyses. She sees alternative movements forming to replace the dominant economic model -- alternative publishing, cooperatives, renewable energy, etc.

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