Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sigh

“You all think [economic] growth and change is normal. It’s not.”
...
Suzuki connected the environment to the economy, explaining the trouble he sees in mainstream economists’ call for unbridled economic growth.
...
He criticized the short-sightedness of economists and their constant need for increased growth, which will eventually be impossible. “We live within the biosphere. It can’t grow, it’s fixed!” he exclaimed.

Mr. (Dr?) Suzuki could stand to learn some more economics. Even if you believe that there is limited substitutability between natural and physical capital, see his third point, there's no reason to bash increasingly more efficient methods of turning natural capital into outputs. This is economic growth, and it affords us more consumption while consuming fewer natural resources. If you're against this, well, I'll be polite and simply say that your preferred social indifference map is bizarre beyond redemption.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do think we need to address climate change and maybe even whatever other issues Suzuki currently cares about. But efficiency and economic growth are fundamentally the same thing. Yet, one gets cast as the bogeyman, and the other is praised to high heaven.

Courtesy of McGill Daily, HT: Western Standard.

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