Monday, October 13, 2003

Herman Daly - Economic Heresy?

Herman Daly has long been a lone wolf in the Ph.D. halls of professional economics, yet if anyone wants to truly make sense of present eco-enviro-social reality you must read his work. He is no one to be taken lightly as he has the experience of working at the World Bank for six years, as their senior environmental economist. If you want or need a thoroughly awakening eco-environmental point of view, Herman Daly offers more than you can imagine. His ethicosocial and biophysical limits shine a fresh light on the economics field, even though he has been writing about these issues for almost a decade, now. If you are serious about new economics you can't miss this read {Beyond Growth - The Economics of Sustainable Development}. ...{Amazon Link}

The Economic Heresy of Herman Daly

..."Once you sit down and draw a little picture of the economy as a subset of the larger ecosystem, then you're halfway home as far as ecological economics is concerned. That's why people resist doing that," he says. "That means you would have to say well, there are limits, we're not going to be able to grow forever. That means the economy must have some optimal scale relative to the larger system. That means you don't grow beyond the optimum. How do we stop growing? What do we do? These are very threatening questions."

It is because these questions strike so deeply at shared hopes and ambitions, says Daly, that most economists do not ask them. "The source of economists' influence in the world of power, at least in recent times, has been through growth. The solution to all economic problems has been growth. If you're poor, the solution is growth. If you have unemployment, the solution is you have to increase investment, that means growth. The population explosion -- well, there's a demographic transition, if we just grow enough then people will stop having so many children. And what's the problem with unjust distribution of income? Well, it's just that we don't have enough, so if we grew more it would be easier to divide a big pie than a little pie. It's just so inconvenient if growth is limited that it's been hard to contemplate." ...{article continued}

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