08 November 2005

Epilogue: So We're in AGREEMENT?

Having just vented my spleen on an essay I found at Bill Totten's blog, I noticed another essay by someone who practically said the same things I was trying to in my four posts ("Cataclysm," 1, 2, 3, 4). "Economics in a Full World" (Herman E Daly) declares that "developing an economy that can be sustained within the finite biosphere requires new ways of thinking," i.e., new technology. Prof. Daly proceeds to analyze the breakthroughs in thought and expectation that would constitute a sustainable economy. Daly, in my view, writes something that is totally correct and constructive in regards to the concept of the sustainable economy. I appreciate the fact also that he doesn't take a stance of arrogant scorn towards the society he wants to reform.
So far I have described the "sustainable economy" only in general terms, as one that can be maintained indefinitely into the future in the face of biophysical limits. To implement such an economy, we must specify just what is to be sustained from year to year. Economists have discussed five candidate quantities: GDP, "utility", throughput, natural capital and total capital (the sum of natural and man-made capital).
He recommends natural capital on the grounds that
They can be measured and bequeathed. In particular, people can measure ...the rate at which the economy uses them, taking them from ...the ecosystem, transforming them into useful products, and ultimately dumping them back into the environment as... wastes...
Many of the ideas he explains really shed light on the possibilities of sustainable economic organization.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home