The unsustainable aspects of growth

Tim Toben takes consumerism and GDP to the woodshed:

On the current economic roadmap, all growth is good. An industry that pollutes the air, water or soil or extracts minerals from an indigenous community without adequately compensating it is as prized as a non-polluting industry that builds community or restores ecosystems.

Most threatening of all, the material throughput of the economic system is breaching the boundaries of the biosphere. A condition known as "ecological overshoot" exists, whereby the global economy is now using up more than 1.4 times the Earth's capacity to regenerate the natural capital upon which the system and all life depends.


This is so important

Tim is one of the true visionaries when it comes to understanding ecology and economics. This column is one of the most compelling statements I've read about the conundrum we're in. It perfectly underscores the very real limits of free market materialism.

It is compelling

One of the things the FMF crowd likes to talk about is how the market doesn't need to be regulated, because bad actors will eventually lose due to negative perception on the part of consumers.

But I have a feeling our planet itself might just "correct" us if we continue on our current path. Hell, it's already correcting us, but too many people can't (or refuse to) see it.

I saved this excellent Dkos diary on this subject

An optimistic diary (for once) by Jerome a Paris

the resource constraint is going to become a permanent feature, forcing us (and the Chinese) to change the structure of our economies. Pain, but also a lot of economic activity, will come from our necessary adaptation to lower energy availability.

He spells out how things will self-correct because of forces that no capitalist can do anything about.

True enough

In general, I want to agree with the dilemma of over consumption on a global scale to the detriment of nature's ability to withstand it. We must all work to push against consumerism gone wild and fight to protect the natural affinities of the globe. We have no choice in the matter, really, if we expect future generations to survive.

Charles Malone

Charles Malone