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On a finite planet, maintaining endless economic growth is not a viable option

On a finite planet, maintaining endless economic growth is not a viable option

Cooperative conservatism could help to get us off growth with minimum pain and maximum gain, says Richard Heinberg. —

Richard Heinberg

“Both the U.S. economy and the global economy have expanded dramatically in the past century, as have life expectancies and material progress. Economists raised in this period of plenty assume that growth is good, necessary even, and should continue forever and ever without end, amen. Growth delivers jobs, returns on investment and higher tax revenues. What’s not to like? We’ve gotten so accustomed to growth that governments, corporations and banks now depend on it. It’s no exaggeration to say that we’re collectively addicted to growth. The trouble is, a bigger economy uses more stuff than a smaller one, and we happen to live on a finite planet…. Engineering a happy conclusion to the growth binge of the past century might be challenging. But it’s not impossible. Granted, we’re talking about an unprecedented, coordinated economic shift that would require political will and courage. Perhaps we could think of it as cooperative conservatism (since its goal would be to conserve nature while maximizing mutual aid). It would require a lot of creative thinking on everyone’s part.” — Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute

Richard Heinberg is an American journalist and educator who has written extensively on energy, economic, and ecological issues, including oil depletion. He presently serves as the senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute.

Below is my repost of Richard’s latest contribution delivered with concise clarity and with my added subheadings, text highlighting, selected bulletted formatting, and images. Alternatively, to read his original piece on the Post Carbon Institute’s website, click on the following linked title.

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…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

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