Economics in a Full World
Herman E. Daly
- Growth is thought to be the universal cure for all the major economic ills in the world.
- Poverty - just grow the economy, increase production of goods and services and prompt consumer spending. Don't redistribute wealth from rich to poor because that slows growth.
- Unemployment - increase demand for goods and services by lowering interest rates on loans and investment which leads to more jobs and growth.
- Overpopulation - push economic growth and rely on demographic transition to reduce birth rates.
- Uneconomic growth - producing bads faster than goods, making a country poorer.
- Growth would work, however we begin to sacrifice natural capital with man-made capital
- If we do not realize that our resources are limited, we will suffer uneconomic growth
- U.S. may have already entered the uneconomic growth phase.
- Some people benefit from uneconomic growth and thus have no incentive for change
- Humankind must make the transition to a sustainable economy; If we do not make that transition, we may be cursed not just with uneconomic growth but with an ecological catastrophe that would sharply lower living standards
- Any subsystem must at some point cease growing and adapt itself to a steady rate - birth rates must equal death rates, and production rates of commodities must equal depreciation rates
- Human population has increased, "ecological footprint" has increased.
- As the world becomes full of us and our stuff, it becomes empty of what was here before. To deal with this new pattern of scarcity, scientists need to develop a “full world” economics to replace our traditional “empty world” economics
- Economists have discussed five candidate quantities to sustain: GDP, “utility,” throughput, natural capital and total capital (the sum of natural and man-made capital)
- The main idea behind sustainability is to shift the path of progress from growth, which is not sustainable, toward development, which presumably is.
- If we do not make the adjustments needed to achieve a sustainable economy, the world will become ever more polluted and ever emptier of natural resources