Traditional economists’ concept of the sphere
How do “traditional” economists conceptualize the sphere of the economy? Why is it important to engage in this re-conceptualization? Traditional economists’ concept of the sphere of the economy was purely based on paid economy, production of commodities that are market-based and commodity production. According to these economists, commodities that o does not fetch returns in the markets were not supposed to be produced.
A market economy is the one whereby the decisions about what to produce, how to produce and for who to produce are purely guided by the forces of supply and demand. In other words, production, investments and distribution decisions are determined by supply and demand in the economy. The major feature of this kind of market is that decisions as to investment and allocation of capital are largely made through markets. As such, traditional economists’ idea was that only the market forces, that is, supply and demand should guide the economy on what to produce. In the commodity economy, production is purely made for exchange purposes. It involves the production of only those goods and services which are aimed for the market rather than consumption by the consumers.
The idea of the traditional economists kind of provoked some sort of selfishness in the sense that it only advocated for products that would go straight to the market and ignored the rest. Again, the conceptualization allowed only a paid economy thereby assuming exchange. According to traditional economists, if goods will not pay then they should not be produced.
One great weakness of this conceptualization is because it encourages the production of those commodities that will trade in the market, and ignores the production of goods and services that will not pay off to the producers. This concept is inhumane in the sense that it means individuals will not have access to such products that do not pay off to the producers. Services like provision of water, security, sewerage, etc. are left unattended. Reconceptualization is necessary through measures like advocating for planned economy and the government undertaking production of those commodities that do not pay off. This will adds value and humane to the economic system.
Why is capitalism unsustainable? How do we have to transform it? Under capitalism system of economy, means of production are entirely meant for a profit. This mode of the economy is largely criticized especially by socialists as unsuitable due to a number of reasons. First, it encourages inequality. The common mantra amongst capitalists that anybody is capable of becoming rich and wealthy if they work hard is fallacious. So as to create wealth, initially you have to get it from someone else.
This could be through trading things, taxation or other similar means. But this suggests that there can never exist rich people without poor ones, hence equality is impossible under capitalism. Secondly, capitalism is unsuitable because it encourages waste of resources. In a community where economic resources are unevenly distributed it is obvious that there will be the rich who have plenty of resources. While at times the excess resources are allocated to the poor, the often the surplus is wasted.
Capitalism is viewed as anti-social. The motive for profit is far much higher than altruism. When people are more concerned with what they have in their pockets, then they lose the drive to help the needy as they only focus on themselves, people develop the feeling of satisfying their own needs first. Capitalists amerce wealth at the expense of people’s welfare. Since owners of the business are motivated by the urge to make more profits, they often do this by reducing remunerations to the employees. This strategy accrues many benefits to the business entity but the workers suffer economically as they can not afford basic needs.
Capitalism is thus unsuitable and there is a need for transformation. Capitalism builds up because of the free market. To transform it, therefore, requires employing some aspects of control in the economy. The private sector should not be given total autonomy to run the economy. People should be taught values like sharing and come up with a sustainable system of growth.
What are the three most important ideas you learned in this class? That is unique to this class? (I.e. ideas that will remain with you beyond this exam). In this program, I have learned much about social attributes and values that I must engrave into my lifestyle so as remain helpful and supportive to the rest of society, especially the less fortunate. It is possible to conduct ethical business that recognizes the value of employees and employ such concepts as corporate social responsibility. Understanding that business progress is directly attributable to the society calls for ethics in practice. This calls for the need to strike a balance between aggressiveness and ethical values in the society.
Is another economic system possible? It is possible to have another economic system which is more humane and puts into consideration the ethical factors of people. A mixed economy is one type of economic systems that can possibly redress the limitations of capitalism by advocating for the ethical economy. A mixed economy is an economic system characterized by the presence of government regulation in production. Both the private and the government sector direct the means of production, thereby portraying the elements of both planned and market economies with a strict regulatory check to ensure that production does not occur at the expense of the citizens.
Although private enterprise still has great dominance in the market, government plays a significant role in the regulation of the economy through such mechanisms such as fiscal policies and monetary policies which tend to lure producers towards the production of goods and services they would otherwise not. The government also plays a significant role in coming up with policies and legal stipulations that encourage employment in the industry and protection of social welfare of the people. Countries ranging from Cuba to the United States are perfect demonstrators of mixed economies in the world. The state provides environmental protection, maintenance of competition, upholding of employment standards, and welfare system that is standardized. This kind of economy thus factors in the element of ethics and social values.
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