Exploring Heterodox Economics, Mainstream Economics, and Environmental Sustainability.
Thursday, 18 July 2013
What would we have to do to save the humans?
An extract from a paper, the link to which can be found near the bottom
If we want a sustainable economy, one that “meets the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs,” then we would have to do at least some or all of the following:
1. Put the brakes on out-of-control growth in the global North – retrench or shut down unnecessary, resource-hogging, wasteful, polluting industries like fossil fuels, autos, aircraft and airlines, shipping, chemicals, bottled water, processed foods, unnecessary pharmaceuticals, and so on. Abolish luxury goods production, the fashions, jewelry, handbags, mansions, Bentleys, yachts, private jets etc. Abolish the manufacture of disposable, throw away and “repetitive consumption” products. All these consume resources we’re running out of, resources which other people on the planet desperately need, and which our children and theirs will need.
2. Discontinue harmful industrial processes like industrial agriculture, industrial fishing, logging, mining and so on.
3. Close down many services – the banking industry, Wall Street, the credit card, retail, PR and advertising “industries” built to underwrite and promote all this overconsumption. I’m sure most of the people working in these so-called industries would rather be doing something else, something useful, creative and interesting and personally rewarding with their lives. They deserve that chance.
4. Abolish the military-surveillance-police state industrial complex, and all its manufactures as this is just a total waste whose only purpose is global domination, terrorism and destruction abroad and repression at home. We can’t build decent societies anywhere when so much of social surplus is squandered on such waste.
5. Reorganize, restructure, reprioritize production and build the products we do need to be as durable and shareable as possible.
6. Steer investments into things society does need like renewable energy, organic real-world economics review farming, public transportation, public water systems, ecological remediation, public health, quality schools and other currently unmet needs.
7. De-globalize trade to produce what can be produced locally, trade what can’t be produced locally, to reduce transportation pollution and revive local producers.
8. Equalize development the world over by shifting resources out of useless and harmful production in the North and into developing the South, building basic infrastructure, sanitation systems, public schools, health care, and so on.
9. Devise a rational approach to eliminate and/or control waste and toxins as much as possible.
10. Provide equivalent jobs for workers displaced by the retrenchment or closure of unnecessary or harmful industries, not just the unemployment line, not just because otherwise, workers cannot support the industrial we and they need to save ourselves.