Economic growth cannot continue

Continuing global economic growth "is not possible" if nations are to tackle climate change, a report by an environmental think-tank has warned.

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You all know I think economic growth is one of the false god in the free market pantheon. Personally I have been convinced for a very long time that it cannot continue at the rate of growth it developed in the last decennia, at least not without a totally different structure and a much more economic (in the true sense of the word) and judicious use of raw materials and respect for manpower : growth as a tool, not as an objective.

Still, I am highly sceptical when I read that kind of message from environmental dogmatists. But if there is one thing I can stand even less than environmental dogmatism it is the world harming dogms of the free market priests.

I read that, according to the executive director of the Adam Smith Institute, a free-market think-thank, the report exhibited "a complete lack of understanding of economics and, indeed, human development". The director told BBC News "It is precisely this economic growth which will lift the poor out of poverty and improve the environmental standards that really matter to people - like clean air and water - in the process, as it has done throughout human history." "There's only one good thing I can say for the ... report, and that's that it is honest. Its authors admit that they want us to be poorer and to lead more restricted lives for the sake of their faddish beliefs."

The consequences of economic growth speak for themselves indeed : there have been huge and very powerful world changing achievements, but the enormous chasm between "vision" and "truth" keeps growing. Clean air ? Fresh water ? Lifting the poor out of poverty ? Are those the objectives of economic growth ? No, greed was, is and remains the driving force. And what about the fourth world ? Isn't that a consequence of free market dogmatism ?

Faddish beliefs ? Maybe yes, maybe no. But if one faddish belief persists it is free market and growth dogmatism that free market and growth will cure all ills. Fortunately, even among its priests, I see growing scepticism and agnosticism. Maybe there is some hope yet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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