Necessary but not sufficient

Martin Wolf in the Financial Times:

"...these views shaped how I have responded to the financial catastrophe of the past few years. I was convinced that, without the policy responses we saw, the world would have experienced a still greater depression. Policymakers could not stand idly by while such calamities unfolded. We could not, in such times, even take the survival of civilisation itself for granted. Never before had I felt more strongly the force of John Maynard Keynes’s toast “to the economists – who are the trustees, not of civilisation, but of the possibility of civilisation”...

I appreciate this understanding of economic stability as an enabler of progress instead of the source of progress. Economic chaos prevents solutions to other challenges. Economic sustainability (and development) creates conditions where social, environmental, educational improvements are possible, but economic stability does not inevitably lead to these improvements.

I think peacebuilding is similar. Political chaos and conflict can prevent progress in other areas, but the resolution of conflict does not create progress. I'm going to ponder a bit more about parallels between economics and conflict resolution, because I think there's the germ of something interesting there.

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