The New Economic Foundation’s Report on the infeasibility of continued economic growth is yet another bit of analysis that points out the obvious – we have radically overdrawn our resources and that has consequences. One of them is that we can’t draw down natural resources infinitely. The other is that infinite economic growth is (duh) not possible. It also observes that continued economic growth isn’t actually benefitting most of the people we ostensibly care about benefitting:
…Why growth isn’t working
Between 1990 and 2001, for every $100 worth of growth in the world’s income per person, just $0.60, down from $2.20 the previous decade, found its target and contributed to reducing poverty below the $1-a-day line.38 A single dollar of poverty reduction took $166 of additional global production and consumption, with all its associated environmental impacts. It created the paradox that ever smaller amounts of poverty reduction amongst the poorest people of the world required ever larger amounts of conspicuous consumption by the rich.
In the end, it is economic growth that most stymies our attempts at stabilizing the climate and reducing our energy usage. We are enslaved to an economy that must grow, or enter crisis. And weighing the odds of an international movement to a steady-state economy versus discovering this the hard way, I have to say, I’m betting on hard way.