Economics has become a narrow field completely out of touch with reality, says Noreena Hertz, a Cambridge University economist. She argues that it needs to reconnect with reality and has developed a paradigm for capitalism that draws on a range of disciplines as diverse as anthropology, physics, and neurology. But Hertz might consider an additional one for her paradigm to ultimately succeed.

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Economics has become a narrow field completely out of touch with reality, says Noreena Hertz, a Cambridge University economist. She argues that it needs to reconnect with reality and has developed a paradigm for capitalism that draws on a range of disciplines as diverse as anthropology, physics, and neurology. But Hertz might consider an additional one for her paradigm to ultimately succeed.

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Right-Brain Future

October 19th, 2009

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In 1983, General Motors tried to reinvent the car business. In the late 1980s Alan Webber and Bill Taylor tried to reinvent the Harvard Business Review. In both cases, a culture asphyxiated innovation. In GM’s case, many lost their work. This is a stone cold reality that faith communities must face as many try to innovate. The odds are that most are institutionally incapable of innovation—but many clergy will lose their jobs trying.

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“The whole of nature is a conjugation of the verb to eat.” The Anglican priest and poet William Ralph Inge got it right. Conjugate means “joined together, especially in pairs.” Eating was once paired with another action. Together, these two symbolize the deepest reality of the universe. That’s worth considering, since reality is driving young adults to a particular kind of faith community—communities that celebrate this paradoxical couplet.

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In 1887, Chicago sent their waste westward. For years, the city dumped its refuse into the Chicago River, which ran east, soiling Lake Michigan beaches. Engineers “solved” the problem by reversing the river, sending the sewage to St. Louis. Irresponsible engineers are the product of an irresponsible educational culture. It also explains economists’ “solutions” to our economic crisis—and why re-reversing the river is overdue.

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