"We Need A Crisis, And A Change of Values"
by Herman Daly
The European: Let us start with economic theory on the level of the individual. Has the ideology of the homo oeconomicus outlived the model upon which it was originally based? People concede that Smith or Hayek were partially mistaken, yet their credo is very much alive.
Daly: I would add one more aspect: Their ontological picture of man is flawed. Instead of conceiving of human beings as atomistic independent individuals that are connected through the nexus of the market and keen to maximize their own benefit and pleasure, we should really think of man as being constituted by the relationships with others. We are not only externally related to others, we are internally related to them as well. When you ask me: ‘Who are you?’ I would define myself as a husband, son, father, citizen, friend, or member. And in a more physical sense, I would be an air-breather and a water-drinker and a food-eater. The quality of these relationships by which we are constituted determines our welfare far more than the amount of commodities we consume. Economists nod at that criticism of their model and then just go back to doing what they have always been doing.