Mon Nov 12, 2012, 10:24 AM
xchrom (108,903 posts)
Could Economic Growth Kill Us?
Now that the U.S. presidential election is over, attention has turned to the challenge of keeping the world’s largest economy growing. The underlying assumption is that growth is always the proper goal.
What if that assumption were wrong? Given our current economic malaise, and the obvious needs of the poor in developing nations, growth may be the only sensible aim in the short term. But what if, in the very long term, economic growth had some natural limit, beyond which it actually became detrimental to the survival of the human race?
This idea has been treated as heresy every time it has been raised, first by Thomas Malthus two centuries ago, and again by the famous Limits to Growth analysis initiated in the 1970s by the Club of Rome think tank. Yet heresies have at times turned out to be true. And this one has some pretty good logic on its side.
The argument takes many forms, but for me the most convincing centers on energy. Nothing in physics is more fundamental. The “E” of Einstein’s famous E=mc2 is the vital quantity behind all action and motion. It is never created or destroyed, it merely changes form. The energy in Hurricane Sandy hasn’t vanished. It has transmogrified into destroyed buildings, felled trees, and vast quantities of heat -- released by rains - - spread across the eastern U.S.
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Could Economic Growth Kill Us? (Original post)
Response to xchrom (Original post)
Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:34 AM
raouldukelives (5,178 posts)
1. I seriously doubt it. I mean, not all of us. Not for awhile at least.
I think quite a few people can figure out ways to survive, even semi-comfortably during the coming decades. As far as the world wildlife population goes, sorry critters. You will all continue to have to take a back seat to our right to use up and destroy whatever allows you a slight grasp on this planet.
Ah, nobody really cares. Even many of those who claim they do just pay lip service, then invest in Wall St and drive like a maniac to the discount mall. We will have to figure out some way to buy ourselves out of this coming reality because fighting to save appears to be a losing battle no matter how you slice it. The undisputed champ of lost causes.
So maybe all the investors have it right. Maybe some rugged individualist will rise up and engineer us out of this mess and the free market will herald us into a new golden age. They'll have to get on it and soon.
I'm not hopeful.