Here are some mantras that are always spoken about in upbeat voices. But should they be? “Stimulate the economy!” “We need to get the economy growing again!” “Stocks reached a new high today!” “Housing prices are rising again!” All of these mantras cheer for a growing economy, but it would be better if we showed suspicion or felt some sadness. How long will we cheer for an economy to grow when it has already outgrown our planet??? The best response to obesity is not cheering it on.
On this episode we hold our applause and take a much more nuanced approach. Jerry interviews Brian Czech who talks with us about a strong economy that is a steady, less volatile economy. Brian is with the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE), Arlington, VA. He’s written a couple of books on how an economy can serve us all, function within the parameters of ecology, and measure how well its doing by criteria other than growth.
Mentioned in This Episode
Richard Smith: Green Capitalism - The God That Failed
Tony and Shane Uncut series on Simple Living Works! Podcast
NEW — Resistance Radio (Derrick Jensen, host) – Max Wilbert – 04/06/14 - The Flaw of Green Technology
Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) recommends an
interesting glimpse into ‘fat’ and ‘lean’ problems — Forget ‘Developing.’ Fat Nations Must Go Lean. from NYTimes. The old labels no longer apply. Rich countries need to learn from poor ones.
Jubilee Economics’ blog — Lester Brown: The Future of Civilization
Friend and former Simple Living board member Dick Webster, retired professor from The Ohio University, forwarded this item from New Zealand which supports Brian Czech’s thesis. It also supports Jubilee Economics’ belief that technology will not rescue us from the climate crisis.
The Simplicity Institute’s co-director, Samuel Alexander, has been doing some work recently with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, and has just published the first of a number of working papers, entitled A Critique of Technology Optimism: Efficiency Without Sufficiency Is Lost.
ABSTRACT: “Technological optimists believe that humanity will be able to solve environmental problems primarily through technological application and advancement, while continuing to focus attention on economic growth. From this widely held perspective, sustained growth of the global economy will eliminate global poverty and raise living standards for all, without destroying the necessary ecosystems that sustain life as we know it. There can be no doubt that this promise of technology is seductive - material abundance for all, while solving environmental problems. But is this promise credible? If not, what are the implications? This paper presents an evidence-based critique of techno-optimism, arguing that the vision of progress it promotes is unrealisable due to the limits of technology and the inherent structure of growth economics. The considered application of technology is, without doubt, an essential part of any transition to a just and sustainable world, but it is argued that there must also be a value-shift away from growth economics toward a ‘post-growth’ or ‘steady state’ economy based on material sufficiency.”
Best wishes, Simon Ussher and Samuel Alexander – Co-directors of the Simplicity Institute, 43 Watling St, Tauranga, New Zealand — firstname.lastname@example.org