by james gustave speth
The idea of economic growth as an unquestioned force for good is ingrained in the American psyche. But a longtime environmental leader argues it’s time for the U.S. to reinvent its economy into one that focuses on sustaining communities, family life, and the natural world.
“Within this century, environmental and resource constraints will likely bring global economic growth to a halt…,” Canadian political scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon wrote in Foreign Policy earlier this year. “We can’t live with growth, and we can’t live without it. This contradiction is humankind’s biggest challenge this century, but as long as conventional wisdom holds that growth can continue forever, it’s a challenge we can’t possibly address.”
So there we have it: the traditional solution that America has invoked for nearly every problem — more growth — is in big trouble. If we are going to move beyond growth, we will need to build a different kind of economy. We Americans need to reinvent our economy, not merely restore it. We will have to shift to a new economy, a sustaining economy based on new economic thinking and driven forward by a new politics. Sustaining people, communities and nature must henceforth be seen as the core goals of economic activity, not hoped for by-products of market success, growth for its own sake, and modest regulation. That is the paradigm shift we must now begin to pursue and promote.
Read the whole thing:
Off the Pedestal: Creating a New Vision of Economic Growth