Sunday, 18 July 2010

The folly of economic growth

Useful piece in the New Internationalist on economic growth. Real profit and economic growth relies on exploitation of resources, both human and natural. Some growth may be possible, e.g. by exploiting the sun's energy, but we are so far over the level of consumption that the planet can cope with that further growth from where we are now cannot happen. And as the majority of modern economic growth has been fueled by oil, it is likely to end soon.

Economic decline is inevitable, it will either happen chaotically through the increasing cost of exploiting resources, such as tar sands, or it could be done in a managed and coherent way that makes life better. Either way, there will be a reduction in the exploitation of resources as the current rates can't continue.

You might think that Greens would welcome the ConDem government politicies which will quickly lead to economic decline. I suspect I would welcome them if they made society more equal, focussed on getting rid of the profit motive, reduced exploitation, protected the vulnerable and provided some infrastructure that reduces our need to consume. Sadly they are doing the opposite.

The key question is how can we make the best use of this time of decline, both as individuals and as a society.


weggis said...

We band together in small self help groups, Social Enterprise, Mutuals, Mate's Favour's networks.

We pass on the skills of the retired before they are lost.

Steve Campkin said...

We need more Greens in government, or a miracle (some would say they are the same!) Until then we need to get the Green New Deal going from the bottom up, getting people to invest in green banks like Triodos and Co-op, switching to renewables, supporting local business. Maybe then the Government will change, when they realise there's cash to be had.

It seems to (paranoid) little old me that they are, in fact, doing everything they can to protect themselves from the oncoming ecological crisis while leaving the rest of us out in

weggis said...

I like the cold.
Cold is good, cold works.

Stuart Jeffery said...

Thanks both of you. Beautifully highlighted the difference between right and left!

Weggis: quite! I have been following John Michael Greer's latest writings on this and the need to ensure that these skills are not lost is immense. We must also add to that the need to ensure that wider knowledge on ecology is not lost.

Steev: If you look at the fascist approach to crisis management you will see some striking parallels with their actions...