Then I heard about this concept in terms of the economy in general. I read how a steady state was considered the same as stagnation - like some horrible third circle of hell. But you just do the math in your head, and you wonder where all this growth is going to take you. Sure enough, it's not sustainable, and bubbles burst. And I just sigh when I hear all these economists (who got us into this mess) trying to get us back to a trajectory of growth. Can't we try something else for a change?
So, I thought I'd share with you this very insightful and entertaining article by Herman Daly, posted on the Oil Drum. Herman Daly has fun skewering the growth economists (who I'm sure are ostracizing him as we speak) and then goes on to describe a vision of a healthy steady state economy. You know, the old general store instead of Wal-Mart.
Here's one juicy skewer quote:
Some economists in fact think of nature as the set of extractive subsectors of the economy (forests, fisheries, mines, wells, pastures, and even agriculture….). The economy, not the ecosystem or biosphere, is seen as the whole; nature is a collection of parts. If the economy is the whole then it is not a part of any larger thing or system that might restrain its expansion. If some extractive natural subsector gets scarce we will just substitute other sectors for it and growth of the whole economy will continue, not into any restraining biospheric envelope, but into sidereal space presumably full of resource-bearing asteroids and friendly highly-evolved aliens eager to teach us how to grow forever into their territory. Sources and sinks are considered infinite.Then Mr. Daly goes on to offer 10 proposals to help reach a healthy steady state economy. I'm not sure I grok or even agree with all of them, but it's a starting point for a healthy dialog about this. I recommend having a read...