Towards a stable economy

After hearing an NPR interview with one of the founders of Ecological Economics, Herman Daly, I started reading more into the subject.Hump the rainbow album cover

I like the idea of the economy being within an environmental system. Businesses can easily run up big ecological (and social) debt by misusing resources and not accounting for externalities that damage or remove environmental services. Furthermore, an economic model of constant growth doesn’t make sense from an evolutionary standpoint, because it doesn’t seem tp follow the idea of a dynamic balance. Efficiency instead of growth should be our new economic mantra, and “the scarce use of resources” should replace “the use of scarce resources.”

Arne Naess, the philosophy credited with founding Deep Ecology says that ecosophy is “an evolving but consistent philosophy of being, thinking and acting in the world, that embodies ecological wisdom and harmony.” Daly furthers Naess’s ideas and says “Current economic growth has uncoupled itself from the world and has become irrelevant. Worse, it has become a blind guide.”

image from New Scientist: How Our Economy is Killing the Earth

Unfortunately, changing course could be difficult. Gus Speth, an attorney and co-founder of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) says in an interview in the New Scientist, “…we’re trying to do environmental policy and activism within a system that is simply too powerful. It’s today’s capitalism, with its overwhelming commitment to growth at all costs, its devolution of tremendous power into the corporate sector, and its blind faith in a market riddled with externalities. And it is also our own pathetic capitulation to consumerism.”

Now that scores of investment bankers and other practitioners are out of work, they should put down their crossword puzzles and crapachinos and start taking a fresh look at the way they expect to do business in the future– in light of the intrinsic link between their business world and die grosse Welt.

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4 responses to “Towards a stable economy

  1. On that note, check out this book for a global perspective:

    Ecological Debt: The Health of the Planet and the Wealth of Nations


  2. Arne Naess, the philosopher, seems to follow.

  3. Khalid, thanks I’ll look into it. do you have a copy i can borrow?

  4. ‘We thus have any interesting problem, economic growth is unsustainable for a variety of reasons, however it is inherent in a modern capitalist economy. Providing alternatives to capitalism is no easy task but it is necessary. I suspect that ultimately it is easier to change the economic system than basic ecological realities, however most commentators reverse my approach’ is my analysis that went towards the Sustainable Development Commission discussion on growth, that is in turn debated in New Scientist.

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