Daly’s thesis seems more relevant than ever as government policymakers puzzle over lackluster global economic growth despite unprecedented government spending (and debt) and ground-hugging interest rates in the seven years since the crash. Maybe we have reached the point, as Daly would argue, when economic growth is uneconomic, when the costs outweigh the benefits (except, of course, for a very narrow strata of people at the top who get to put the costs on everyone else).
If we are moving toward a low-growth or even no-growth world because growth is becoming much more difficult and problematic, then Daly’s outline of a new economics will need a companion outline: politics in a full world. I have a preliminary candidate for that outline: Bruno Latour’s The Politics of Nature. Daly’s steady-state economics always implied a revolution in governance without being explicit about it.
Latour never mentions Daly and may never have read him. But Latour clearly understands that the natural world–which politics has always held at arm’s length while nevertheless dealing daily with nature’s demands–must now explicitly invite that natural world to the bargaining table.
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