Workshop Series: John Mathews
Capitalism is arguably the most amazing cultural and economic product of humankind. It nurtured political liberty in Europe; it ushered in the industrial revolution in Britain and then around the world; it raised incomes everywhere; and it cleared away centuries of obscurantism and superstition. But it also brought into being a 'spirit of capitalism' that is individualist, expansive, acquisitive, ruthlessly rational and insatiable. This spirit has been responsible for commodifying relations and turning the natural world into a 'resource base' on the one hand, and a sink for wastes at the other. The industrial scale of this objectification and destruction of the natural setting has proceeded to the point where it is global, and now threatens our industrial civilization with collapse. My purpose in this paper is to sketch an account of how industrial capitalism might be 'naturalized', so that it continues to grow and deliver improvements in the quality of life without destroying humankind's resource base, and the biosphere as well. My focus is on rules and institutions rather than policies or prescriptions. My argument is that a green economy is already growing within the old, fossil-fuel economy, and that through competitive dynamics it will dominate by mid-century - unless blocked politically by vested interests.
Please also refer to Prof. Mathews' opinion piece on the Australian government's Clean Energy Future package, published recently to Online Opinion: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=12366
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Professor Mathews is currently the Eni Chair of Competitive Dynamics and Global Strategy at LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome, and is on leave from his professorship at Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Sydney. He taught visiting programs at the National Graduate School of Management, ANU, Canberra; at the Stockholm School of Economics; at the Faculty of Business Administration at National University of Singapore, at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University; at the Aarhus School of Business, Denmark, at the LUISS university in Rome, and in the EMBA program, Seoul. Professor Mathews' research focuses on the competitive dynamics of international business, the evolution of technologies and their strategic management, and the rise of new high technology industries, especially their creation in East Asia through strategies of technology leverage and the management of technology diffusion. He researches the development of the institutional capacities of firms and governments in Asia-Pacific, the internationalisation processes of firms and the theoretical explanations for latecomer firms' success. His work has focused in the past several years on the emergence of the 'green economy' and the transition to renewable energies, and the institutional changes needed to provide industrial capitalism with genuine long-term sustainability. He has worked with UNIDO, UNCTAD, the World Bank, the ILO Asia-Pacific, the OECD and APEC. In 2000/2001 he was a consultant to UNIDO on the preparation of the Industrial Development Report 2002. In 2005/06 Professor Mathews was an expert adviser to UNCTAD for the World Investment Report. He was a special consultant to the World Bank in the preparation of a Country Economic Memorandum on Mauritius in 2005/06, with special responsibility for technology matters.