Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Feeling Full?

Herman Daly, an ecological economist, provides a nice explanation for what is wrong with our current economic system in the essay “Economics for a full world”.   Daily’s essay explains how our current economic model was designed from the vantage point of the world being mostly empty (of humans and their impacts).  Economic growth has gotten us to a place of fullness, and it may be time to change our economic models to become more in line with the real world, while we still can. 

The introduction to the essay states:

Because of the exponential economic growth since World War II, we now live in a full world, but we still behave as if it were empty, with ample space and resources for the indefinite future. The founding assumptions of neoclassical economics, developed in the empty world, no longer hold, as the aggregate burden of the human species is reaching—or, in some cases, exceeding—the limits of nature at the local, regional, and planetary levels. The prevailing obsession with economic growth puts us on the path to ecological collapse, sacrificing the very sustenance of our well-being and survival. To reverse this ominous trajectory, we must transition toward a steady-state economy focused on qualitative development, as opposed to quantitative growth, and the interdependence of the human economy and global ecosphere. Developing policies and institutions for a steady-state economy will require us to revisit the question of the purpose and ends of the economy.

Read the entire essay at the following link for more insights on the inherent problems with the current economic model and some suggestions for a revised more realistic model.

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