THE MARKET ECONOMY’S DIRTY LITTLE SECRET

By Tony Dickson  

“If the earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness which it owes to things that the unlimited increase of wealth and population would extirpate from it, for the mere purpose of enabling it to support a larger, but not a better or a happier population, I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary, long before necessity compel them to it”   John Stuart Mill “Principles of Political Economy” – Book IV, Chapter VI (1848)

Our society is much given to regarding our technological and economic prowess with great complacency.  We now live, so we are told, in a post-industrial age: an age where the primal concerns that engaged the attention of humanity throughout the millennia have been left far behind. We are no longer hunters and gatherers, but economic sophisticates with mobile phones and central locking, who regard the few remaining primitives with implacable condescension. This perception is of course, both a monumental conceit and a profound delusion, because those primitive economies achieved something that quite eludes us: stasis and thereby, sustainability.  Economists tell us that if our economy does not grow it will…it will…well, they’re not sure…. perhaps hold its breath until it turns blue. There is simply no long-term model for a static industrial economy; although we may do well to consider the Japanese as potential canaries. Continue reading

Sustainable Development and Governments

The Sustainable Development Commission is abolished. Its role was to act as a watchdog and bark when the Government did not implement its sustainable development strategy within its own departments. It was supposed to ensure that the government did embed the principles of sustainable development within government decision making. I can understand why it has been abolished. Continue reading

Vote for a steady state economy

Economic growth is assumed to be a Good Thing, by most economists but it is responsible for most of the environmental problems that affect us, because the growth is uncontrolled and rewards greed. Economic growth is presented as a benefit to society but it is actually a cancer infecting the environment which will ultimately destroy society if we are not careful. It is necessary to find a sensible alternative to economic growth and one of the ideas out there has originated in the United States by Professor Brian Czech. He calls it the Steady State Economy and founded CASSE in order to promulgate its concepts. Continue reading

Economic growth is a misguided policy

Some ideas seem so right and obvious that we are urged not to waste time in examining them. But a little learning is a dangerous thing-a very dangerous intoxicating drink. It has always been so and today, with a small closely interlocking world where a flu virus that infects very few and kills even fewer thousands of miles away can have an effect over billions of people over the whole world.

Economic policy of Governments is crucially important to all of us but we have a poor grasp of economics – in fact we probably live in the stone age of economics. I have no doubt that many years from now our descendants will regard present economic theory, as practised by governments across the world, with the same eyes as we today view the old discredited Ptolemaic theory that the earth was the centre of the universe.

When Copernicus proved (he did not just speculate) that the earth was simply a planet that revolved around the sun and that as it revolved around the sun the earth revolved on its axis, it was an idea that was completely contrary to the accepted wisdom of thousands of years. Continue reading