10 June 2009

Ecology, Economics, Sharing

One of the things that interests me at the moment is the way open source ideas are proving hugely useful when considering areas like economics and environmentalism. If you want an encapsulation of this important but complex area, you could do worse than this brilliant essay, "From a Failed Growth Economy to a Steady-State Economy." Here's the key logic:

if we can’t grow our way out of all problems, then maybe we should reconsider the logic and virtues of non-growth, the steady-state economy. Why this refusal by neoclassical economists both to face common sense, and to reconsider the ideas of the early Classical Economists?

I think the answer is distressingly simple. Without growth the only way to cure poverty is by sharing. But redistribution is anathema. Without growth to push the hoped for demographic transition, the only way to cure overpopulation is by population control. A second anathema. Without growth the only way to increase funds to invest in environmental repair is by reducing current consumption. Anathema number three. Three anathemas and you are damned—go to hell!

Or, put another way, on a finite earth, only steady-state economics is sustainable; and economics without growth implies sharing.

Ecology => Economics => Sharing.

(Via Michael Tiemann.)

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.

No comments: