Archive for July, 2013

Chapter 3: The Battle for Europe

“Ah, the fervent revolutionary!” exclaimed Henri Frenay, smiling. It was a summer day in 1962, and I was seated on an English style leather sofa in the rather dark living room of his apartment in the centre of Paris. I had come to confirm to him that a few months earlier I had married the secretary of the European Federalist Movement of Geneva. What could be better than to share an ideal, work together, have the same plans in life, besides having a family and children? Read More

Chapter 2: Glories and Disasters in the Chemical Industry (1959-1965)

1. First Full Time Work
“You are an over performer, sir.” This was the verdict of an “employment psychologist” who had subjected me to a series of tests in the beginning of November 1959 in via della Moscova in Milan. I particularly remember the discussion concerning “Rorschach’s inkblot”. They show you a sheet of paper folded in two. Some ink is poured on one side and then the two sides are closed together so as to obtain a mirror image blot on the two halves of the paper. In that blot I had recognised the threatening atmosphere of the German Olympus, Valhalla, that serves as the background to Wagner’s epic, Nibelungen. I had described a large cave with Wotan, the head of the gods, and the Valkyrie. The particular inspiration for the account came to me from a comic strip that had just come out at that time, blacker and less amusing than Asterix which would be introduced some decades later, but nevertheless, entertaining enough to stimulate my imagination. Read More

Chapter 1: From Trieste to Texas

1. Do bombs perhaps have a meaning?
“Mum, why do we have to die?”
It was late morning on 10th June, 1944. Bombs were falling all around the block where I lived on the fourth floor in via Limitanea in Trieste. Across the street there was a small coal factory, the chimney of which had been bombarded by the planes. Read More

From Limits to Growth to Limitless Growth

Forty years ago was a crucial turning point in human affairs, though it was poorly understood, disputed and even denied at that time. Three events stand out for their particular significance: the end of the Gold Standard in 1971, the publication of The Limits to Growth in 1972, and the first oil crisis in 1973. They marked the end of an era of rapid economic development for the industrialised countries, unalloyed optimism and unquestioned faith in capitalism, the beginning of a period of increasing doubt and uncertainty, which has now culminated in a multi-dimensional crisis of unparalleled proportions. Since then, the world has been wracked by increasing financial instability demarcated by more than 200 monetary currency crises and 145 large-scale banking crises. The average growth rate in Western Europe declined progressively from 6.1% in the 50s to 4.8% in the 60s and 2.3% in the 70s, then fell to less than 2% since 1990. The initial quadrupling of oil prices, an alarming reminder that non-renewable resources are actually non-renewable, spurred price inflation in the late 70s, which was only kept under control by tight monetary policy, slower growth, and rising levels of unemployment and income inequality in the decades that followed. Read More


Orio Giarini’s autobiography is a fascinating record of the experiences, people and events that stimulated the mind of an original thinker to study the broader fields of social exist­ence transcending the narrow limits of the traditional discipline of economics. They led him to perceive the evolutionary changes that would alter the nature of economy and economic theory as radically as Relativity Theory and Quantum Mechanics altered the 19th century principles of Physics. Yet while the world was quick to recognise and adopt the new paradigm in Physics, both theorists and policy-makers have been slow to recognise the compulsion to adopt a fundamentally new paradigm in economics. But whenever they arrive at that realisation, they will find much of the essential foundation has already been laid by this far-sighted economic visionary.

Garry Jacobs
CEO, World Academy of Art & Science;
Managing Editor, Cadmus Journal

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