Friday, October 17, 2008

New Scientist: Economy To Destroy Earth

We don't really talk much about the economy here at EIGN. Probably because everyone else is all. the. time. So we try and focus on the more obscure (and amusing). Or maybe it's because it's so serious it actually scares us too much to write about. Either way, when one of our favorite online science sites posted a piece about how our economy may lead to the end of the Earth and not just the end of Us we had to chime in.

Genetics, the wind, the sun, physics, lowering your own carbon footprint, sustainable energy, making plastic bags illegal, etc. "Are these efforts to save the planet doomed?" Asks an op-ed piece over at the fabulous New Scientist.

"A growing band of experts are looking at figures like these and arguing that personal carbon virtue and collective environmentalism are futile as long as our economic system is built on the assumption of growth. The science tells us that if we are serious about saving Earth, we must reshape our economy." (new scientist)
The piece also links to a number of interesting stories from a special issue of the mag about saving the planet using the economy as a starting point. It's an interesting read, so you should check it out.

Ancient Optimism Naivety
"In his Principles of Political Economy, published in 1848, [John Stuart Mill] predicted that once the work of economic growth was done, a "stationary" economy would emerge in which we could focus on human improvement: "There would be as much scope as ever for all kinds of mental culture, and moral and social progress... for improving the art of living and much more likelihood of it being improved, when minds cease to be engrossed by the art of getting on."

Today's economists dismiss such ideas as naive and utopian, but with financial markets crashing, food prices spiralling, the world warming and peak oil approaching (or passed), they are becoming harder than ever to ignore." (new scientist)

Oh, silly John Stuart Mill.

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