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Green Growth

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, October 26th, 2018 - 86 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, economy, Economy, energy, Environment, greens, International, political alternatives, poverty, quality of life, Social issues, sustainability, vision - Tags: , , ,

The content of this post comes from an article in Foreign Policy magazine by Jason Hickel that’s titled Why Growth Can’t Be Green. I read it in light of New Zealand having a Green Party that talks of a Green Economy while signing itself up to economic constraints and programmes straight from a liberal economic playbook. I suppose some people will argue that the Green Party isn’t advocating for growth with talk of business opportunities  in a world of global warming, or with  talk about transition, economic prosperity and “green” jobs. That as it may be…

A team of scientists led by the German researcher Monika Dittrich first raised doubts [about green growth] in 2012. The group ran a sophisticated computer model that predicted what would happen to global resource use if economic growth continued on its current trajectory, increasing at about 2 to 3 percent per year. It found that human consumption of natural resources (including fish, livestock, forests, metals, minerals, and fossil fuels) would rise from 70 billion metric tons per year in 2012 to 180 billion metric tons per year by 2050. For reference, a sustainable level of resource use is about 50 billion metric tons per year—a boundary we breached back in 2000.

In 2016…

researchers assumed a tax that would raise the global price of carbon from $50 to $236 per metric ton and imagined technological innovations that would double the efficiency with which we use resources. The results were almost exactly the same as in Dittrich’s study. Under these conditions, if the global economy kept growing by 3 percent each year, we’d still hit about 95 billion metric tons of resource use by 2050.

Last year the UN Environment Programme had a go.

It tested a scenario with carbon priced at a whopping $573 per metric ton, slapped on a resource extraction tax, and assumed rapid technological innovation spurred by strong government support. The result? We hit 132 billion metric tons by 2050.

So we need a hard sinking cap, either just on fossil and allowing the knock on effect from that to affect other resource use and general behaviours and practices, or as Dan O’Neill would have it, we need a raft of hard sinking caps across the board, because with current economic settings (capitalism)…

But it’s all good. Us lot in rich countries aren’t getting any happier with increasing levels of consumption. And we have an opportunity to be happier and avoid tanking the planet into the bargain!

… ending growth doesn’t mean that living standards need to take a hit. Our planet provides more than enough for all of us; the problem is that its resources are not equally distributed. We can improve people’s lives right now simply by sharing what we already have more fairly, rather than plundering the Earth for more. Maybe this means better public services. Maybe it means basic income. Maybe it means a shorter working week that allows us to scale down production while still delivering full employment.

86 comments on “Green Growth”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    De-growth became a trendy notion a while back. I agreed with it in principle but it lacks political power unless anchored in an overall policy context that maintains a reasonable standard of living for most people.

    I agree that such political pragmatism isn’t necessarily suitable. If civilisation is indeed in overshoot (as I have long believed) then the future remains a choice between nasty and nastier. I appreciate that the coalition is trending towards the former. Problem is, that just gives people hope on an unsound basis.

    The GP strategy currently is to ensure the viability of an ongoing centre-left government in Aotearoa. This secures for us a positive alternative to whatever National would do, without actually solving the global problem. Democracy was not designed to solve global problems, merely to deliver majority rule, so can’t blame the Greens for playing the game according to the rules.

    • Bill 1.1

      …so can’t blame the Greens for playing the game according to the rules.

      Y’know, if I want to the doctor and they said “Well, it’s just a lump and if you rub this potion on it you’ll feel better” because that was the medical “rules” when it came to interacting with patients whose biopsy results had just come back showing the presence of malignant tumours….

      Yeah – I’d have something to say about that, with no passing thought to any “rules”.

      Degrowth and reasonable standard of living. “Reasonable” is wholly subjective, but I think there’s a consensus that Costa Rica (and other countries on the same portion of the “development curve”) have good social provisions (health care, schooling etc) alongside a population being generally content (by “happiness” indexes or whatever) off the back of using much less energy (and therefor resources) than the likes of the NZ, UK or the other supposedly premium G8 countries.

      Something to aim for?

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        Costa Rica has a very traditional Capitalist style economy with steady and ustained growth over the past few decades.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          Uh-huh. Which is why O’Neill points out that no country is currently cutting the mustard and why I didn’t claim Costa Rica had an economy that wasn’t based on notions of growth (no country has).

          • Gosman 1.1.1.1.1

            I’m not sure Costa Rica is very much different to our own economy. We may as well aim for what we have already got.

        • KJT 1.1.1.2

          You mean it is one of the few countries left in the Americas with a mixed economy. Like we used to have. I.e. Lucky enough not to be stuffed by the CIA, defending US capitalism’s right to plunder.

          Honduras is your ideal traditional capitalist country.
          More like gilded age USA.

          • Gosman 1.1.1.2.1

            What do you mean like we used to have? We are still a mixed economy with large Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary sectors.

            • shadrach 1.1.1.2.1.1

              I think he means ‘mixed’ in the sense of a combination of private and state activity. But even on that basis, you are correct – NZ maintains a mixed economy. And, the only real difference between Labour and National is the degree by which each shifts the balance between state and private involvement.

              • Gosman

                Sorry, you are correct on both counts (what a mixed economy is and the fact we have one).

                • Draco T Bastard

                  National and Labour have been breaking that by shifting ever more of our economy into the rentiers hands. This has, inevitably, created more poverty.

            • KJT 1.1.1.2.1.2

              National was trying to fix that, as fast as the public would let them.

              Honduras fixed it, too!

  2. Draco T Bastard 3

    Our planet provides more than enough for all of us; the problem is that its resources are not equally distributed. We can improve people’s lives right now simply by sharing what we already have more fairly, rather than plundering the Earth for more. Maybe this means better public services. Maybe it means basic income. Maybe it means a shorter working week that allows us to scale down production while still delivering full employment.

    And what it doesn’t mean is capitalism or rich people. If we want to live sustainably (and we really don’t have a choice on that) then we must get rid of capitalism and rich people. It is only the need to keep a few people rich and getting richer that drives growth in consumption.

    • Pat 3.1

      That may be largely true however the exponential ‘growth; of humans occupation and use of the biosphere since the industrial revolution cannot be dismissed. I would suggest that the planet is incapable of supporting (sustainably) some 8 billion humans when all the interconnected impacts of ANY lifestyle are considered…..not that that alters what needs to be done.

      • Kahu 3.1.1

        Capitalism raison d’etre is growth but you cannot have growth year upon year in the face of finite resources. But technology will ameliorate the negative effects of this growth somewhat. Solar power expansion …If NZ gov got serious about solar we could roll out solar on every single roof in NZ to make electricity virtually free. We can get serious about funding & developing vertical farms & factory/lab-grown meat & synthesised milk & milk alternatives to replace the environment-damaging cows. The gov could get serious about emission cars by banning import of emitting cars, by legislating for all buses & trains to be electric etc etc. Still a lot of room to move legislatively to lessen impacts.

        • Gosman 3.1.1.1

          What happens when you use a resource currently?

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1

            Nobody knows exactly because the politicians and capitalists are too scared to fund the necessary research.

            But we do know that we’ve got far too much pollution coming from it and that the amount of resources in our part of the world are actually declining.

        • Pat 3.1.1.2

          Growth however is not confined to capitalism….growth is a consequence of ‘success’ and even without capitalism per se was the goal of many societies in their quest to obtain and protect resources….that growth of population drives all subsequent growth, unfortunately when we developed dense transportable energy in the form of fossil fuels we enabled that growth to become both exponential and ultimately self destructive.

      • Gosman 3.1.2

        Where is the major growth in the World’s population currently happening?

        • Pat 3.1.2.1

          and how does it matter where its occurring when we have both a global economy and a global problem?

          • Gosman 3.1.2.1.1

            It matters an awful lot in terms of how we address the issues caused by increasing populations.

            • Pat 3.1.2.1.1.1

              care to explain your reasoning?

              • Draco T Bastard

                Quite a few countries cannot support their populations. They simply don’t have the resources available. As trade declines due to them running out of resources that they’re presently swapping for food that will result in massive famines in those parts of the world.

  3. Stuart Munro 4

    If the government can find money to pursue the TPPA for all those long unproductive years, which will not benefit us at all, or to rain poison on our forests like some toxic Bomber Harris, then they can afford to support some smart Green growth initiatives.

    It’s a matter of priorities – theirs are based on the world in 1990.

  4. Brutus Iscariot 5

    Disengenuous to claim that living standards won’t have to take a hit in parts of the globe, to achieve what you claim.

    If you were doing a global average, everyone down to New Zealand’s working class would have to take a hit to “even the ledger”. Pinning it on the rich makes for nice soundbites, but the truth is an average middle class family in NZ is rich by global standards.

    If every African consumed as much as the average European, the planet would be in ruins already. Therefore, in the name of equality, consumption patterns in the West need to move towards a basic subsistence level. Well, i have a family and although i will accept a slower growth of my living standards to the point of a steady state economy, i won’t take us back to the Middle Ages. Sorry, but that’s how it is, and you’ll get the same answer from 99.9% of westerners.

    The truth is we are screwed, and what will ensue as things deteriorate is not a redistribution, but a Darwinian scramble for survival. The only real solution is a Thanos-style mass mortality event to wipe out a third of the earth’s population.

    • Yes western raised people won’t accept less until they are forced to. They will be forced to imo.

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        Go ahead and attempt that and see where it will lead you.

        • marty mars 5.1.1.1

          Nature and the effects of a rapidly warming world will force them, not other people. I know where it leads to and there is no escape.

          • Gosman 5.1.1.1.1

            Follow your scenario through. What will likely happen if the predictions are entirely accurate. It is unlikely the people in Western nations will be accepting less until much later.

            • marty mars 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Death.

              I think decline rapid and slow with plateaus and mega death events down to approximately late 19th century tech I’d say, over the next maybe 3 generations.

              From there who knows – survival, adaptation, death.

        • KJT 5.1.1.2

          You may be surprised.

          At the moment workers and the poor, in Western countries, are expected to do all the heavy lifting, in paying the costs of increasing living standards in poorer countries, (misleading in reality as a rise in average GDP, does not mean a reduction in poverty, just more money for exploiters local and foreign) And paying the costs of climate change.

          Most green house gases are produced by the top ten% even in Western countries. The ones that can afford overseas holidays and $100/hr plus for powerboat fuel. They can do without that.

          A steady state economy, with a fairer distribution of the wealth we all produce, may be even better for the majority.

          • Gosman 5.1.1.2.1

            Again see what happens if you attempt to promote those sorts of policies. You will soon see an equivalent to Trump dominating the political landscape here.

            • KJT 5.1.1.2.1.1

              Electing Trump was a reaction to exactly the problems I describe.

              Putting all the transition costs on one sector of society, while a few ran away with the wealth.

              Not going to work.

              People will put up with a lot, if they are all in it together.

              Not so much if some are obviously avoiding their share of the cost.

              The equivalent of “war profiteers”.

        • Stuart Munro 5.1.1.3

          We’ve already been forced.

          That’s what declining home ownership rates are.

          • Gosman 5.1.1.3.1

            Quite possibly and what has been the political response to that? Instead of just acknowledging this new paradigm the political parties all try and argue they can fix it.

            • Stuart Munro 5.1.1.3.1.1

              That one they can fix – it’s created by the pro-speculation legislative environment that has prevailed since Rogergnomics. It is frankly laughable that a country the size of England, with less than five million people, has severe housing problems – no physical constraint created them, only the incredibly bad advice of economists.

              As the costs of AGW hit, they will hit the poor first, especially in poorly governed countries like NZ. That will likely create a rising popular disenchantment with the prevailing lies of non-performing economists.

              • Gosman

                I agree with you on this point:

                ” It is frankly laughable that a country the size of England, with less than five million people, has severe housing problems… ”

                However you are dead wrong on this one:

                “…no physical constraint created them, only the incredibly bad advice of economists.”

                • Stuart Munro

                  Yes – but then you support market dysfunction and the crude inequalities it has created.

                  Were you more rational you would recognize the present housing debacle falsifies the rosy predictions of the benighted economists whose ideas underlie the failed policies that created it.

                  Rogergnomics was a textbook economic failure.

                  • Gosman

                    Hardly. In fact our current economic status and performance is as a direct result of the reforms of Rogernomics.

                    The problem with the cost of housing is as a result of the RMA which has nothing to do with Rogernomics.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Rubbish – you’re just rehearsing your hatred of regulation – regulation that could have prevented it.

                      Current house prices are in large part an artifact of foreign capital.
                      Prior to Rogergnomics selling our land offshore wasn’t really a thing.

                      You lawless far right twits created this problem, like you create most of the other problems that afflict our country.

                    • KJT

                      True, I suppose. The fact we fell from equal to Australia to 30% behind, is a direct result of Rogernomics.

                      Countries that applied Rogernomics, Thatchernomics or whatever you want to call it, have fallen way behind those that did not.

                      Observe New Zealand vs Australia for one. We will never catch up after the Neo-Liberal disaster.

                    • KJT

                      The cost of housing is due to 500k extra people in ten years, lack of taxes on housing and overseas buyers driving demand.

                      Fuck all to do with the RMA.

                      Gosman. Still in denial.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      In fact our current economic status and performance is as a direct result of the reforms of Rogernomics.

                      True – it’s fucked us right up.

                      The problem with the cost of housing is as a result of the RMA which has nothing to do with Rogernomics.

                      BS.

                      In a market economy (Rogernomics) costs need to be covered adequately. The RMA actually fails to do that.

                    • Gosman

                      If current house prices are as a result of foreign capital how come prices are not falling sharply now the ban is in efcect?

                    • KJT []

                      You forget to mean the 70k, extra immigrants a year and the 150k customs of our education for residency, scam.
                      Along with the token ban on foreign buyers. In fact the biggest slow down in house prices, has been after China tightened up, briefly, on their exchange controls. Which confirmed our suspicions about one of the main causes.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  We have the physical resources available and so it was only the delusional economics that we follow that ensured that those resources were and are used incorrectly/uneconomically.

              • Draco T Bastard

                It is frankly laughable that a country the size of England, with less than five million people, has severe housing problems – no physical constraint created them, only the incredibly bad advice of economists.

                QFT

                Economics has become nothing more than the justification for capitalism against the evidence.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.4

          Gaia neither negotiates nor takes prisoners.
          Reality has a radical Left bias.

          Reality will always win out no matter the delusional beliefs of the RWNJs.

      • Kahu 5.1.2

        If the masses in third world see conditions deteriorate further, the west will be forced downwards by virtue of mass migration. What is happening now will look like chump change re refugees when climate collapse lead to people in Africa & Sth America etc just upping sticks and walking in their millions (instead of thousands as today) …an unarmed invasion of millions that will swamp any attempt at border protection unless west govs make the hard decision to bomb & machine-gun unarmed starving civilians. Otherwise it would a world conflict as the militaries of all the struggling countries of third & second world combined to attack the First World nations. Between growing to death, going solid-state or retreating backwards, I’d choose the solid-state option like most sane people.

        • marty mars 5.1.2.1

          There’s going to be nowhere to walk to. Storms will wreck havoc on the sea and flying impossible. No one’s going anywhere I’m afraid.

        • Gosman 5.1.2.2

          Western powers have the ability to severely curtail migration. The real question is whether they choose to use this ability. At the moment the answer is no.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2.3

          an unarmed invasion of millions that will swamp any attempt at border protection unless west govs make the hard decision to bomb & machine-gun unarmed starving civilians.

          And they’d have both the right and responsibility to do so. After all, such an invasion of millions would result in the death of millions and governments have the responsibility to protect those already there. They don’t have any such responsibility to those doing the invading.

          Between growing to death, going solid-state or retreating backwards, I’d choose the solid-state option like most sane people.

          A stable-state economy is the only option for sustainability. The problem we have today is that it’s entirely possible that we couldn’t actually maintain the present population in a stable state at a reasonable living standard.

    • Bill 5.2

      Therefore, in the name of equality, consumption patterns in the West need to move towards a basic subsistence level.

      Consumption levels need to come by around 20%. Hardly “subsistence” levels of consumption, and given that we need to be cutting fossil use by about 10% p.a…

      Try reading the articles and associated materials in place of knee jerk “hair shirts and caves” type nonsense, aye?

      • RedLogix 5.2.1

        We could do it in strictly pragmatic terms, but in order to do so we would have to abandon everything we value at the moment. Everyone knows this.

        • Bill 5.2.1.1

          we would have to abandon everything we value at the moment.

          I honestly can’t think of a single thing I value that I’d have to abandon. Profligate consumption of ‘bullshit’ and energy is the preserve of a shrinking proportion of the population.

    • SpaceMonkey 5.3

      “The truth is we are screwed”

      The only option available to us now, in the face of this, is adaptation. If we cannot proactively descale our society ourselves (and I don’t believe we are capable given the magnitude of what we are dealing with), the Earth will do it to us. Therefore the Earth = Thanos. So I expect some depopulation of the planet and nature won’t discriminate for nationality or ethnicity. But neither will we go back to the Middle Ages, at least not for the foreseeable future. There will be enough stuff that can be re-purposed for a while, but I expect that we will need to get used to being less “connected” than we take for granted today. And we may come to be glad we have a giant moat around us. But I expect our immediate priority will be cleaning up our post-industrial environment the best we can so we can sustain ourselves the best we can.

      • WeTheBleeple 5.3.1

        I think along similar lines. We need to be adapting regardless. We can pin hope on this or that tech/policy/next thing… but rolling our individual sleeves up is required right now. My hope is those individual sleeves become a critical mass sooner rather than later.

        The writing’s on the wall (science), we need sustainable systems regardless of a cleaner or more cataclysmic future.

        Dear Capitalists

        You are sadly mistaken. The planet does not grow in time with your Economists models.

        You may only maintain an economy through maintaining the providers of the goods of that economy; Namely: Earth and Earthlings.

        Maintenance has been ignored and your infrastructure is about to collapse.

        Investment in the planet is crucial.

        Thank you.

  5. Gosman 6

    Fascinating stuff but once again what it means is unclear. What is a de-growth economy given that growth is not merely about using resources but the value of those resources? You can have an economy that uses less resources and still grows just as you can have an economy that uses more resources but shrinking output.

    • Bill 6.1

      It’s unclear to you what “not using, producing and wasting as much shit as we currently do” means? Okay. I can’t help you there Gosman.

      But feel free to rush around waving your arms about chematistic notions of value and wealth if that’s your bag.

      Though, you’ll have to be excusing me from joining in with that pointless exercise.

      • Brutus Iscariot 6.1.1

        I think his point is that if we’re to use resources more efficiently, then capitalism has a role to play. Central planning doesn’t deliver efficient outcomes in terms of resource allocation, if that’s the case.

        The way to do it is to quantify and externalise the true cost of consumption and production on the environment (as is done with an Emissions Trading Scheme for example). Once that’s done, resources will flow to their best use.

        E.g. if petrol was 10 bucks a litre composed of production cost + a large environmental levy, i wouldn’t be taking my car to the supermarket. But via that demand decay from price, there would still be fuel for ambulances to run. High value vs low value usage.

        • Dennis Frank 6.1.1.1

          I remember when the Greens adopted the principle of true-cost accounting in their economic policy a quarter of a century ago. Democracy has kept it marginalised ever since.

          If it ever was incorporated into public policy, market forces probably would shift the economy in the ideal direction you suggest, yet the ETS has failed due to bad design. The devil working in the details often defeats the architects of legislation, and the result often suggests that market forces alone do not suffice.

    • KJT 6.2

      Good luck with that.

      No capitalist country, and only one communist one, has managed a steady state of resource use.

  6. Gosman 7

    I do think you need to separate the concept of growth from resource use. Growth may well impact resource use but growth may also lead to less resources (especially scarce resources) being used. You can also use more resources despite not having much in the way of growth. Much of Africa would be a prime example of that.

    • Stuart Munro 7.1

      Agreed. The changeover to sustainable technologies (if it occurs) will be expressed as growth in the sustainable sector.

  7. RedLogix 8

    Sighs … reading the nihilistic ‘we’re screwed everyone will die’ comments here is not a vote winner.

    There are two ideas we need to think about; one is the wind down of the old political orders, the traditional notions of tribalism that confine humanity into endless struggles between power groups. Consider how much gross energy and resource is wasted on unnecessary armaments and antagonism. Consider how communities and individual vie with each other, each consuming beyond rational need in order to accumulate status signals. Consider how men compete, striving to scramble up a materialistic ladder in order to attract a mate and sustain a largely illusory position in a fake social pecking order. Everywhere.

    All great transitions in our history were built on what came before, and occur when a new bundle of tools and technologies emerge which enable the change of consciousness. As the machine age and coal power steam engines enabled the end of chattel slavery.

    While one order declines into increasingly undeniable dysfunction, there is a fresh order emerging. It has two main features; one is a raft of new technologies that will enable a global scale emancipation of the whole human race in economic and material terms. And from this a fresh global conciousness will change the human heart, one that sets aside ancient power struggles, one that embraces the whole of humanity, one that upholds every individual’s sovereign capacity to participate in this regenerated world.

    But we won’t do any of this as small, castrated, guilty people …. refusing to take responsibility for what we are capable of being.

    • I was asked a question and I answered it honestly. You’ve said pretty much the same as me but with more flowery language and less direct conclusions.

      Of course we do what we can during the decline. We dont give up. And we don’t expect miracles and undelivered promises from those that should know better. The truth is the way forward. Community, sustainability, simplicity, collectivity, connectivity. Learning the lessons from the past to guide into the future. Our future is here, now. Time for the mahi .

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        more flowery language

        Yeah I’m prone to that; but I do other kinds of comment too.

        less direct conclusions

        I don’t know how the future will unfold. There is every real chance it will include a mass die-off, maybe 90% of the human race. That would be tragic on a scale we simply don’t have words for. But to embrace the prospect as a component of our political philosophy is an evil. I refuse that; I’m going to call that out. (And this isn’t a personal attack, it’s something I’ve seen many well-meaning people drift into when faced with the enormity of the challenge.)

        Or to put it another way; if we are going to go down, I’m going to go down fighting against it. We have a chance of beating this if only we stopped misdirecting so much energy in power games, and became the people we really could be.

        (I hope this comes over constructively.)

        Community, sustainability, simplicity, collectivity, connectivity. Learning the lessons from the past to guide into the future.

        It is what Maori are good at. Can we have more of this please?

        • marty mars 8.1.1.1

          “But to embrace the prospect as a component of our political philosophy is an evil. I refuse that; I’m going to call that out.”

          Imo There is nowhere to hide. It’s already happening with famine in sudan the worst in living memory and so on. We know what’s happening and we have a fair idea of what’s likely to happen. None of it is good. What value is there in pretending it will sort itself out? If we, with all the knowledge and resources in the world, can’t face the truth how can we expect anyone else to?

          • RedLogix 8.1.1.1.1

            The story in Sudan is bad; but keep in mind that for most of human history hunger and famine were normal events. Now famine is relatively rare and exceptional. Even within the limits of a materialistic civilisation, look how much progress we’ve made.

            Now consider what we might achieve if we tapped our spiritual potential as a species as well. There’s nothing new about this idea, but it’s held me together most of my life. And in case you hadn’t noticed I can be stubborn about these things 🙂

            • marty mars 8.1.1.1.1.1

              “Keep in mind, though, that the antics we’re seeing in US politics today are a mild preview of the far more drastic disillusionment that’s already beginning to take shape as the entire Faustian project of perpetual progress betrays the hopes that have been placed on it. The difficulty that the Faustian culture has never grasped is that any attempt at continued movement in the same direction is subject to the law of diminishing returns. Scientific discovery and technological progress aren’t exempt from this law; it’s worth noting that the cost of each generation of scientific and technological advances has increased steadily with each passing decade, while the benefits provided by each decade’s advances, on average, has turned out to be more and more marginal where it hasn’t yet dipped well into negative numbers.”

              https://www.ecosophia.net/america-and-russia-part-two-the-far-side-of-progress/

  8. adam 9

    Love all the magical thinking in an attempt to save liberalism.

    If it was not so depressing reading this crap on a site which is supposed to be left wing site, it be hilarious.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      You do realise that collectivising the ‘means of production’, includes your own labour. That the ‘end of private property’ includes everything you own.

      Don’t you?

      • Drowsy M. Kram 9.1.1

        Do realise that – don’t get why intelligent folk find ‘that’ such a scary proposition.

        Fresh order” andfresh global conciousness” – double fresh?

        I do admire your unquenchable optimism, but haven’t we already had a very good innings? This prerequisite life raft of new technologies – is it for the ‘golden billion’, or will it be large enough to preserve 10 billion?

        “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” I’m giving your optimism ‘2 blergs‘.

        Out of self interest, I hope NZ society doesn’t get too much more cut-throat over the next 25 years – we’re going to need each other.

        • RedLogix 9.1.1.1

          Well the only two decent mass scale experiments in the collectivisation of property and labour, Stalinist Russia and Maoist China do seem to have had some very scary aspects in hindsight. Maybe that’s just me and my limited imagination though.

          I’m starting from two premises; one is that as a species we are in the middle of a transition from nation states as the dominant political order, to a global one. At one level it’s about re-configuring our political institutions to align with the demands of global governance, and the technologies that will broadly enable it.

          But at another far more profound level it’s about the human heart, it’s about what we believe about ourselves, it’s about having faith in our capacity to change. To let go our old thinking.

          Don’t misunderstand me; I’m well aware the process will likely be brutal, maybe it will be utter hell, maybe only the crushed, chastened remnants of the human race will be around to rebuild something new. But my best bet is optimism; I’m not going to live what remains of my life defined by the parameters of defeat.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 9.1.1.1.1

            https://mahb.stanford.edu/

            “Maybe that’s just me and my limited imagination though.”

            Your imagination seems well developed (to me), and is a comfort no doubt.

            Magical Thinking and Imagination – Eugene Subbotsky

            In Chapter 8 (“Magical Thinking and Imagination”), the issue of how magical thinking works in the domain of nonphysical (imagined) reality is analyzed. The chapter begins with an overview of studies on children’s understanding the difference between physical and mental objects, and then continues with experiments on children’s and adults’ preparedness to accept that real or imagined objects could be changed by a magic spell. The most interesting result of these experiments was that, unlike children, adults reported that magical manipulations had little effect on both real and their imagined physical objects, but had a strong effect on their imagined fantastical objects. Further experiments showed that participants’ personally significant imagined (PERSIM) objects, such as their images of their future lives, were particularly strongly affected by the experimenter’s magical manipulations. This result fits within the domain of “mind-over-mind” type of magic.

            Alas, ‘what’s yours is mine and what’s mine’s my own’-humankind can’t imagine or magic its way out of wedded-to-growth messes.

            https://garryrogers.com/tag/limits-to-growth/

            “The current economic system being utilized and internalized relies on perpetual growth. It has long operated counter to the reality that we are confined to a finite planet with finite resources. Yet, this system continues to be practiced and promoted globally. As the environmental and social repercussions of disbelief in limits become increasingly clear, so does our need for a new economic system —one that is not wedded to growth. Neither growth in the number of consumers nor growth in the amount consumed.”

            “So far the politicians and economists are so wedded to growth that they insist that economic growth is itself the main characteristic of sustainable development.” – a fine example of magical thinking; our leaders have so many constraints on their imagination.

      • adam 9.1.2

        Once again your commitment to dualism as the only explanation for the world, raises its ugly head head redlogix.

        You get that there are other models, one example of that is Rojava. Even Venezuela was working before the economic warfare by the corporations and their armed fan boys in the USA. Another example would be following the logical conclusion of social democracy – and wind back the state. Others include but are not limited to –cooperatives, collectives and other decentralised forms of organisation.

        Hope it was not too frightening for you to learn that the modern left is not liberalism, nor is it purely marxism.

        I get you dislike Lennism, and who doesn’t – is a vial beast which destroyed millions of lives. But we now have the problem that liberalism is killing us, and the longer people support it, the sooner everything dies.

  9. WeTheBleeple 10

    I envisage potential for further growth of the economy once environmental limits are observed and respected. But economic growth to me is about raising the bar for society. It assumes a humane approach, compassionate, inclusive… Not the balance in some assholes ledger.

    Emerging tech, and increasing efficiencies.

    We’re very crap at many things we do. We see pockets of clever design in industry, but much of it is largely inefficient. Look at the microbial world for efficiency.The waste of one is the input of the next.

    The soil microbiota aren’t simply recycling, they’re also rejuvenating. It’s the machine that runs many processes of the planet and it doesn’t cost us a cent. When we restore the Earth and learn from nature rather than force nature to our will we might then proceed in a sensible and timely fashion.

    With emerging tech (and rejuvenation of old tech bludgeoned to death by oil), and increasing efficiencies.

    • KJT 10.1

      Unfortunately much advances, lately, are people devising ever more elaborate ways of ripping each other off. Without adding value or to human welfare in any way. Loan sharking (including banks with credit cards) , financial instruments, extended patents and copyright, land speculation, scientific journals are some of the many examples of useless ticket clipping.

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