Beyond Poverty and Affluence: Towards a Canadian Economy of Care

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Beyond Poverty and Affluence argues that, like a virus which has developed an immunity to the cure, the problems of poverty, environmental degeneration, and unemployment today successfully resist the remedy of growth in industrial production. Bob Goudzwaard and Harry de Lange demonstrate that over the last several decades the solutions used by industrialized nations either have not helped or have dramatically exacerbated these problems. Instead, these predicaments have become structural features of today's economic practice. The authors formulate an alternative, which they call the economics of care, and propose a twelve-step program for economic recovery in Canada.

Goudzwaard and de Lange contend that poverty, environmental damage, and unemployment have a common origin: they emerge from structural flaws in classical and contemporary neoclassical economic thought, including that of Adam Smith and Karl Marx. Drawing on thinkers as diverse as RenT Girard and Hannah Arendt, on numerous Canadian sources, and on their own Christian tradition, the authors propose a `pre-care' economy, which places care needs first on its list of priorities and only then addresses the scope of production, rather than a 'post-care' economy, which pursues maximum consumption and production above all else. They also describe in detail structural changes the Canadian economy will need to undergo to become an economy of pre-care. Included in their discussion is an assessment of the progress of `sustainable development' in Canada, including the work of the federal and provincial roundtables on environment and economy, and a proposed framework for setting Canadian government finances on a durable foundation.

The twelve economic proposals the authors put forward deal with such issues as international currency creation, the environment, the foundation of labour/management relations, the funding of social programs, wage and salary development, the scope of production and technological development, the structure of economic decision-making, the direction of government funding, and the dropping of trade barriers in North America and Europe.


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Revitalizing Our Outmoded Economic Order
But Thats Impossible
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About the author (1995)

Bob Goudzwaard, a former member of the Dutch parliament, is Professor of Economics and Social Philosophy at the Free University of Amsterdam. He is a consultant for Citizens for Public Justice, a Canada-wide advocacy organization based in Toronto, and he is author of several books.

Harry de Lange is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Utrecht. For many years he was the president of Holland's highest profile Development Cooperation Agency, and has published widely there on topics related to economics and social justice.

Mark Vander Vennen (MA, MEd, RSW) is a writer and social worker living in Ontario, Canada.

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