How modern economics causes both inner and outer climate change
1st April, 2008
It’s the battle of the century. In one corner, the Economy – big, bloated, greedy and growing. In the other, the planet Earth – fragile, finite and fighting back.
We are the referees who can change the game, and when Earth wins, we all win. Jonathan Rowe kicks off this series of articles with the view that it’s not only the carrying capacity of the planet that is running out, but also of its people.
It is a chronic and overriding concern of politicians in the West to bestir the growth of this thing called ‘the Economy’. That term sits heavily in the public mind with the dead weight of assumption. Rarely do we stop to consider what exactly it means, what it is and – most importantly – what it is for. Those questions would set free a debate that has long been repressed but can’t be much longer.
The original Greek meaning of the word ‘economy’ was the prudent management of the household. It had to do with the wise mustering of resources for the purpose of wellbeing. But the concept has been co-opted by the modern notion of economics, which has nothing to do with wisdom or wellbeing. Rather it has to do with that part of life transacted through money, and its central concern is the perpetual increase of this.
It is understandable that such increase could once be equated with wellbeing. When Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of...
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