At the Eastern Economic Conference in New York, Alanna Hartzok, Founder and Co-Director, Earth Rights Institute, delivered a presentation entitled, “A Tribute to the New Economics of James Robertson”. He challenges  the protagonists of the status quo, arguing that they compound their own incredibility by their refusal or their inability to confront 10 fundamental challenges:

1. That specific increases in output in any economy no longer necessarily create corresponding increases in employment;

2. That in an age of permanently high unemployment, it is neither efficient nor equitable to attempt to distribute a nation’s wealth predominantly through the labour market;

3. That our present standard of living can only be maintained at the expense of denying the basic necessities of life to millions in the Third World;

4. That our present standard of living can only be maintained through the continuing exploitation and degradation of the biosphere;

5. That the social, environmental and spiritual costs of pursuing a policy of permanent industrial expansionism already outweigh the advantages to be derived from it;

6. That ‘GNP’, ‘productivity’, ‘progress’ and many other notional concepts of contemporary economics are incapable of evaluating or expressing real wealth or people’s real standards of living;

7. That neither laissez-faire market economics nor state-dominated socialism is capable of defining the appropriate balance between individual freedom and collective responsibility;

8. That to think in terms of ‘jobs at all costs’ is quite inadequate, in as much as all work should be fulfilling both to the individual and to the community, and should not be destructive of the environment;

9. That the international banking system is on the verge of collapse;

10. That centralised top-down government spending has failed to create sustainable patterns of employment or to promote those structural changes in the economy that are so overdue.