Sunday, March 8, 2009

Steady-State Economy

Ecological economists have offered empirical evidence that growth is already uneconomic in high consumption countries (see ISEW, GPI, Ecological Footprint, Happy Planet Index). Since neoclassical economists are unable to demonstrate that growth, either in throughput or GDP, is currently making us better off rather than worse off, it is blind arrogance on their part to continue preaching aggregate growth as the solution to our problems. Yes, most of our problems (poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation) would be easier to solve if we were richer-that is not the issue. The issue is: Does growth in GDP any longer really make us richer? Or is it now making us poorer? Herman Daly, A Steady-State Economy, 2008
The re-distribution of poverty that will happen over the next century will either occur as a deliberate and considered mass movement predicated on a collective understanding of what the landbase will actually support, or if we do nothing the re-distrution of poverty will be violent and horrible. Either way, the fat years are most probably over.