The Blaze's Kathleen D'Urso Contributed to this report.
A growing economy is like a cancer.
This was the message from leftist organizer and ad man Colin Mutchler this weekend at the progressive Netroots Conference in Providence,RI. Mutchler, an Obama supporter, was responding to the question while on a featured panel entitled "Beyond Occupy: What Does a New Economic System Look Like?"
The moderator, Jenifer Fernandez Ancona, wanted the panel to probe the idea of "what a new economic system would look like." Ancona began the conversation by obtusely defining how conservatives and liberals view the economy:
"The big insight was that on the conservative side when you really decode what they're thinking the economy is and what they’re telling people it is, it's a natural system, a natural force that is like beyond our control; it's like the weather or ocean tide, it's like this force that we have to be afraid of that is basically taking it's orders from God (laughs). So it’s like if you mess with it, you are, like, messing with the moral order of things."
"The way that the left economists actually think about it is like a machine, or more specifically a vehicle. Like a thing that is supposed to take us to a destination. A thing that we built, that we actually know how it works. And we can tweak it, we can make it work for us. We know that it’s out of balance, or we know that the carburetor is broken, or whatever, I don't know anything about cars. But, it’s like that. So we’re actually in charge of it, and we know that kind of instinctively."
Ms. Ancona then asks what each panelist thinks the "purpose" of the economy is?
Colin Mutchler is the first to answer, defining his views first on economic growth:
"I think currently the goal seems to be, like, the unstated assumption is that the goal is growth, for the sake of growth. It's like, we have to grow, and grow, and grow, and grow, and grow. Why? I don’t know, we just have to grow (laughs). The only thing that I know about [where] the definition is out of control growth, is cancer. Like literally...the definition of out of control growth is cancer."
After comparing the economy to a disease that kills 7.6 million people a year, Mutchler answered the question:
"I would argue that the goal of the economy should be happiness. Like maximizing happiness."
Where does this system of economic happiness work in the world? Mutchler advises:
"Happiness in countries, Bhutan is literally measuring growth national happiness now as a measure of how they’re doing as a country. Its not like crazy people from the Bay area that are thinking about this anymore, it's gaining more traction."
"So that’s what my goal would be. Let’s actually refocus to measure the goal of the economy as happiness."
Fellow panelist Sarita Gupta, the Executive Director of Jobs with Justice, immediately responded to Mutchler's ideas in the affirmative (and sounded a lot like Frances Fox Piven).
"Often when we talk about the economy and the purpose of the economy we always say, ‘jobs, jobs, jobs.’ It always stresses me out a little bit because to me it's not just about jobs, but about good jobs; jobs with justice."
Watch the astonishing responses Below (quotes begin at 47 seconds):
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