Politicos: Growth is Passe

Photo: Mikey G Ottawa via FlickrCredit: Mikey G Ottawa via Flickr

I’m very tired of hearing about “growth” in the economy from the mouths of politicians and newscasters. Even CBC radio devotes far too much space to the ups and downs of the Dow Jones. Unchecked growth leads to disease and collapse in any system. In Fritjof Capra’s words, we must look to optimizing variables, not maximizing profits. The Canadian economy is part of a global economy based on the same growth principles. Despite the fact that this economic “system” has simply increased the gap between the rich and the poor, not one politician is talking about an alternative to the current economy in the lead up to our Canadian federal election. It’s not as if there haven’t been economists who have proposed this direction previously, for example, E.F. Schumacher (Small is Beautiful, 1973) and Herman Daly (Steady State Economics, 1977). Paul Hawken, an entrepreneur and successful businessman also provided a clear blueprint in The Ecology of Commerce (1993). If this election is all about the economy, why not put an ecological economist on your At Issue panel Peter Mansbridge?

I was happy to see David Suzuki calling for “a new vision for the economy.” Here’s an excerpt. Hope the politicians are listening. All we need is one brave soul to chart a new course.

A better economic vision would support the right of all Canadians to live in a healthy environment, with access to clean air and water and healthy food. It would respect planetary boundaries and provide the moral imperative to decrease growing income disparities. Businesses would be required to pay for environmental damage they inflict, capital would be more widely distributed and ideas, such as employee shareholder programs with ethically invested stocks, would be the norm. 

– by David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Environmental Economist and Policy Analyst Michelle Molnar. You can read the full article here.

Update: Turns out there’s an Ecological Economics conference in Vancouver Oct 1-4, 2015.

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