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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:25 PM
Original message
"Economic Growth Can't Continue"
Continuing global economic growth "is not possible" if nations are to tackle climate change, a report by an environmental think-tank has warned.

The New Economics Foundation (Nef) said "unprecedented and probably impossible" carbon reductions would be needed to hold temperature rises below 2C (3.6F).

Scientists say exceeding this limit could lead to dangerous global warming.

"We urgently need to change our economy to live within its environmental budget," said Nef's policy director.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8478770.stm

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This is a decent article which at least addresses the problem, and gives a bit of voice to both sides. Of course if you don't have economic growth, population growth only leads to more poverty. The obvious "solution to everything", then, is to have a birthrate below replacement, so a declining population, as well as a stable rather than expanding economy. Less people, less stress on the planet's resources, more wealth for each individual, and no more desperately racing to fix each new problem overpopulation brings down on us as a species.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. You know, this was being pointed out 50 years ago.
In fact Malthus pointed it out 200 years ago. There are limits to everything.
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Lasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. So did the late great Steve Kangas
Lord have mercy, I wish he was still with us now.

Summary

Many people believe that economic growth is healthy. Indeed, high growth would solve many problems, like poverty, the trade deficit, the debt, etc. But it is impossible for economic growth to continue in a world of limited resources. The population explosion -- which has been created by improved science and productive technology -- is already running into declining resources in grain, seafood, meat, and fresh water. The result will be mass starvation and pitched competition for survival. The alternative is a sustained economy, which holds both the population and production levels constant.

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-growth.htm
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Growth is nice when you can do it.
It's great to be a kid. But in mature equilibrium systems it's just makes a mess.
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 07:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I wouldn't automatically call growth a solution to poverty
there are plenty of examples where economic growth has led to misery, or to nowhere in particular.

I think the main factor is the relation of economic growth to population growth. If the economy grows faster than the population, that represents the creation of wealth. For the other side of that coin, if a population declines faster than the economy, that also creates wealth.
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damyank913 Donating Member (595 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 05:57 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. One thing is for sure...
Without growth there is no solution to poverty.
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Then there is no solution, though that reasoning is flawed
Possibly the best example of your statement is Europe rather than the US, because of the better social programs and safety nets and educational systems there. Poverty is still widespread, but the poor are basically provided for by the surplus of a set of fairly healthy and productive economies. No argument there.

But the argument comes in at the point where you say economic growth must continue in order to continue providing for the poor. I would say it doesn't and can't, and therefore I can say (in agreement with the OP) that economic growth can't continue.

If you say that poverty can't be solved in an economy that isn't growing, that's an absolute admission of defeat and failure. One of the main problems is resources; the resources that the planet provides more or less for free are arable land, fresh water, fossil fuel deposits, etc. All these are distributed around the planet and we utilize them freely for our own benefit. We cannot produce them, however, and therein lies the problem of growth - once we reach the limit of what the planet provides for free, we reach the limit of practical growth. Growth past that point inevitably creates poverty by depleting resources and increasing population, leaving smaller and smaller pieces of pie for each of a growing number of individuals.

As a counter to the "without growth there is no solution to poverty" statement, you can say that once the resources of the planet are at full utilization (and we are pretty close, especially on fresh water and arable land) the only way to reduce poverty is to have a declining population, such that the share available to each is increasing rather than decreasing.
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damyank913 Donating Member (595 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. There is no such thing as static in economics...
You must either strive for growth or recede. Why do you suppose that economists now believe that there are "natural" inflation and unemployment rates in a healthy economy. As for the limits of resources-I do get that. I simply don't know if there's a solution to this problem. You say (and I agree) that if human kind would control birth rates we could reach some sort of balance. How can that be achieved when you have the leader of one billion Catholics saying that birth control is a sin? Different issue-I know, but related, no?
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. dupe...n/t
Edited on Thu Jan-28-10 10:33 AM by bhikkhu
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:37 PM
Response to Original message
5. K&R'd.
The un-rec'ers are active.
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. It could be the environmental tone of the piece
it seems anything to do with carbon emissions, global warming or the environment gets anonymous unrec's.

Another highly recommended piece for anyone who wants further perspective is Bartlett's presentation on the limits to growth, which goes into detail about how and why economic growth and population growth must be stabilized, this all before global warming or CO2 were really issues:

http://www.simoleonsense.com/jeremey-grantham/
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