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Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:24 PM

How Our Growth-Hungry Economy Has Devastated the Planet -- And How We Can Change Course

http://www.alternet.org/environment/how-our-growth-hungry-economy-has-devastated-planet-and-how-we-can-change-course



To appreciate why an economy based on enough is worth striving for, it is useful to examine the failings of an economy that forever chases more. Itís no secret that the dominant economic philosophy of modernity is moreómore people and more production, more money and more consumption. Employees try to earn more income, business managers try to report more revenue on the balance sheet, and politicians try to ensure that the economy churns out more goods and services. On the surface, more seems like a good idea. For an employee, more money can mean financial security; for a business manager, more revenue can result in a promotion; and for a politician, more national income can generate votes in the next election. But if you dig beneath the surface, you begin to uncover the fatal flaws of more.

The main problem with pursuing never-ending growth stems from the fact that the economy is a subsystem of the biosphere. All of the inputs to the economy come from the environment, and all of the wastes produced by it return to the environment. As the economy expands, it consumes more materials and energy, and emits more wastes. But since we live on a finite planet, this process canít go on forever. Like an inner tube inside a tire, the subsystem can only grow so large compared to the system that contains it.

The size of the economy is typically measured using gross domestic product (GDP). GDP is the total amount of money spent on all final goods and services produced within a country over the course of a year. Since one personís spending is another personís income, GDP is also the total income of everyone in the country. GDP functions as an indicator of the overall level of economic activityóof money changing hands. Economic growth, as reported in the media at least, refers to GDP growth, which is equivalent to an increase in the amount of money changing hands.

A helpful place to turn for a long-term perspective on GDP growth is the work of economic historian Angus Maddison. During his distinguished career, Maddison compiled a remarkable data series on population and GDP starting in the year 1 c.e. and running to 2008.

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Reply How Our Growth-Hungry Economy Has Devastated the Planet -- And How We Can Change Course (Original post)
wilsonbooks Jan 2013 OP
NYC_SKP Jan 2013 #1
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #2
dballance Jan 2013 #3
AZ Progressive Jan 2013 #5
AZ Progressive Jan 2013 #4
Amonester Jan 2013 #6

Response to wilsonbooks (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:29 PM

1. Growth is unsustainable

It's a no brainier.

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Response to wilsonbooks (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:34 PM

2. Every time you see a plastic toy, you need to know a piece of the earth died for that

 

And guess what....eventually it all added up.

We must begin to understand our economic system operates by exploiting our ecosystem. Two two are interdependent and their health grow inversely to each other.

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Response to wilsonbooks (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:37 PM

3. I Recently Read an Article That was Pretty Brutal

It made the assertion that we don't really need to worry about overpopulation anymore. Climate Change is going to lead to starvation of billions because we won't be able to produce enough food given the declining arable land and diminishing fresh water sources that result from climate change.

It was actually by some people with PhD after their names but on an alternative web site. I really have to go find it. If I can find it I'll link to it here.

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Response to dballance (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:41 PM

5. A lot of Americans are going to have to die for that "natural balance" to be successful

We consume a lot more resources per person than most of the other people that are part of the rapid population increase.

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Response to wilsonbooks (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:38 PM

4. Capitalism is humanity's way of committing suicide and planetcide

I hope the business community is proud of being at the center of doing such criminal things.

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Response to AZ Progressive (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:03 AM

6. The business community doesn't care.

Only growing the numbers coming in, and proportionally reducing the numbers going out count.

Regulating the business community is the job of true public servants (a rare commodity).

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