Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Folly of Growth (New Scientist)

What I love about New Scientist is that they are not just a pure science magazine. With the recent credit crunch they ran a special issue on "The Folly of Growth - How to stop the economy killing the earth".

You see Capitalism is based on a false premise, that we must have continuous growth. The problem with that is with finite resources you cant have continuous growth as at some point resources run out, prices rise and you get shrinkage. This is the fundamental nature of boom and boost, the credit crunch and everything else that is wrong with the economy at the moment.

It means Gordon Brown is wrong, without infinite resources we cant beat the boom and bust cycle. All because of this one simple premise, which everyone can quite clearly see is wrong but no one wants to admit it because to do so would be to admit that capitalism which has worked for 200 years no longer works. A modern tale of the emperors new clothes.

It would suggest that Capitalism is just as flawed as Communism, in fact you could argue that it is more flawed than Communism as to solve the current credit crisis the governments had to move towards communism by part nationalising the banks and increasing government control of the banking system.

Of course with finite resources the logical economic system would be one that is based on efficient use of resources or more precisely sustainable development. So why do we not have a sustainable or steady-state economy already?

Well,such an economy would mean we would have to live within our own means, no more large debts, greatly reduced oil based travel, less hours worked, the redistribution of wealth from the poor, no benefits to saving and investing, and finally greater control over all aspects of our lives.

The transition period would be much harder as well, just think if tomorrow you were told you could no longer own a car, you had restrictions on the electronics you could buy and only 200 air miles for the year for your holidays. Ouch!

Of course there would be an upside, the end of consumerism, the end of boom and bust, less work, less stress, less inequality, living in harmony with nature rather than against it, better public transport, less pollution, stable prices, no income tax (tax would be on inputs and outputs to the environment), less road congestion, the end of global warming, the end of inflation, no more credit crunch, no more tax havens for the rich, stable population and much much more.

So lets look to the sustainable future and lets hope for the better tomorrow becoming reality.

I have to say all the articles in the new scientist special edition were great and are well worth reading, I may even post some more articles about sustainable development soon.

1 comment:

不結婚可以環球 said...
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