Monday, August 01, 2011

Rethinking growth: bigger is not always better

Do you think that in the future all economics will necessarily be ecological economics?
That’s what I expect. I mean, we’re faced with two impossibilities. On the one hand, it’s politically impossible to stop growth. On the other hand, it’s biophysically impossible to continue it ad infinitum. So, which impossibility is fundamentally impossible? Well, you know, I’ll take my chances with trying to change the politically impossible, because I don’t think I can change the biophysically impossible.

- - Interview with Herman Daly.

This very readable interview is undoubtedly the best brief introduction I've seen as to why endless economic growth is a problem. You can read the whole interview here.
H/T Jin.


Brad Belschner said...

Okay, this helps me understand even better what you were saying over on Bradford's blog (this is Bradley typing by the way). I completely agree with this article.

"What is growth? Is it a temporary process to arrive at a state that we will then want to maintain? Or is growth a process which is itself desirable and is supposed to go on forever?....The idea of steady-state economics is that growth really should be a temporary process to arrive at some level of sufficiency."
I wholeheartedly agree. The notion of growth should exist as a temporary concept. Otherwise, you're just building an empire (or destroying the environment, as the case may be).

Brad Belschner said...

On a different note, this article made me think of you:

byron smith said...

Yes, that is a nice line - unending growth is what an empire builder does (or a tumour).

And you read about rubbish and think of me? How sweet! ;-)

An interesting experiment nonetheless.

Donna said...

I read that article on rubbish and it reminded me of the street outside my house.

The biggest motivator I have to use cloth nappies is seeing used disposable ones lying one the street.