Wellington's Connolly Hall was packed full last week for Geoff Bertram's brilliant lecture on Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century. Geoff will repeat the lecture in Auckland next month.
Piketty's book has become an international best-seller, unusual for a treatise on economics. Dr Geoff Bertram summarises it as follows - The economic logic of a capitalist market system with private wealth plus inheritance leads to a highly unequal, but stable, social order with a patrimonial rentier class at the top. Whether this social order is compatible with democracy depends on what a democratic society is prepared to tolerate. If the capitalist distributional equilibrium does not lie within the boundaries of democratic tolerance, one or the other has to give.
Geoff will expand on this summary and explain why he thinks the work will earn Piketty a Nobel Prize. 6:30pm, Monday 1 September, University of Auckland. You can register here.
Robert Howell has recently returned from Canberra where he worked part-time with the Australian Quaker Peace and Earthcare Committees. During his time in Australia he also helped establish the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility to assist investors. He is one of the authors of Right Relationship Building a Whole Earth Economy, and one of a team of authors from Sustainable Aotearoa New Zealand in their publication, Strong Sustainability for New Zealand Principles and Scenarios.
The first presentation looked at the necessary foundations for a resilient economy based on modern science and ethics. The second presentation discussed some policy implications, and in particular ways to adapt to a turbulent future threatened by climate change, peak oil, water and food insecurity, and financial and banking system failures.
Suggestions were made for all sectors on how to change our investment and banking systems that are in keeping with scientific and ethical principles, and some of the ways that New Zealand can adapt and prepare for the rapid changes and crises that will be forced upon us by an international trading regime that can no longer cope.
The diagram from the first presentation is here, and the slides and audio recordings at the links above.