Thursday, December 10, 2015

The New Luddites


The story behind your quote on growth, “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” was much more interesting to me than the quote.

I think some (many?) on the global warming/climate change/extreme weather side are really arguing for an anti-capitalist, anti-democratic, de-industrialized society. The New York Times article, "Imagining a World Without Growth," where your quote comes from, supports my assumption.

Staring at climactic upheaval approaching down the decades, environmental advocates, scientists and even some political leaders have put the proposal on the table: World consumption must stop growing...

The proposal that growth must stop appears frequently along the leftward edge of the environmental movement, in publications like Dissent and the writing of the environmental advocate Bill McKibben. It also shows up in academic literature.

For instance, Peter Victor of York University in Canada published a study titled “Growth, degrowth and climate change: A scenario analysis,” in which he compared Canadian carbon emissions under three economic paths to the year 2035.

Limiting growth to zero, he found, had a modest impact on carbon spewed into the air. Only the “de-growth” situation — in which Canadians’ income per person shrank to its level in 1976 and the average working hours of employed Canadians declined by 75 percent — managed to slash emissions in a big way.
Of course, this is totally unrealistic.

Proponents of  de-carbonization have failed to convince the public of their views because 1) the models are terrible predictors and 2) the solutions proposed to mitigate the harm projected by these terrible models are completely unacceptable.


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