Tomas Sedlacek is chief macroeconomic strategist at CSOB, one of the largest Czech banks, and a former economic advisor to President Vaclav Havel.
Tomas Sedlacek on
What's unique about our time and age is that we have sort of minimized values very often into prices and we forget that this is not the same thing. There are many values in our lives that simply do not have a price and they are important to us: friendship, ethics, love, aesthetics, clean air, being able to talk with people around you, proximity, feeling attached to the processes that are going around you, all the way to a nice-looking garden.
The biggest task today, I think, is global poverty. Raw capitalism in its abridged form really tends to lead to a concentration of capital. Capital is a magnet to other capital and those who have will have even more, and those who do not, even that little of what they have will be taken away from them.
A global ethic is emerging and I think the financial crisis, as we see it, has actually contributed to this. We realized that there are things that we simply must do together. In other words, we must agree on values, ecology being another one. Very simply, this sort of demon or this foe is beyond the powers of any one of us.
Let me rely here on Keynes. When he was asked the same question, he said, well maybe in 100 years we'll be so affluent that economics will not be an important part of our lives. We will devote our times and energies to things that are really important and that's people, art, whatever we feel is important, and these values exist as well. I think we have put too much stress in the past on one value only and that one value is economic prudence or the economic way of thinking.