It is obvious that there are two main omissions from the models and theories of growth in neoclassical economics: the planet and the human families and communities which live within it. These models neglect the fact that the human economy is embedded in the biosphere which consists of living things, the products of living things and the necessary resources and conditions for living things to survive and thrive. When they are considered at all, such resources tend to be viewed as infinite; energy economist Adelman, writing in 1993 said, “minerals are inexhaustible and will never be depleted” (p xi).
All this matters because adopting growth as the pre-eminent social and economic goal and using the GDP as its index fixes the direction and content of national policy; if we continue to ignore the shortcomings of both the goal and the measure, policies will head us in the wrong direction, diminishing people’s quality of life and destroying the natural environment on which it depends.
Economic Growth and Human Wellbeing (Part I)
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