I confess that I struggle with issues around economic growth, in particular wondering how more people can enjoy a decent life – Sen's idea(l) of living a life one has reason to value – without it. I subscribe to the Daly News as I seek enlightenment. A recent posting by Brian Czech was a helpful one.
His first paragraph describes me in all my glorious gullibility, ignorance and confusion:
Before we think about the steady state economy, let’s think for a moment about economic growth. Economic growth still has such positive connotations in domestic politics, especially American politics, that the vast majority of citizens simply assume that whoever can do more for economic growth is the better statesman (man or woman), better Federal Reserve chair, better economic advisor, etc. That’s why the definition of economic growth bears repeating over and over again, to pull the magic cloak from a purely material process. Economic growth simply means increasing production and consumption of goods and services in the aggregate.
And this almost describes me as well:
Yet many activists, scholars, and ‘think-tankers’ are afraid to talk openly in public about the steady state economy, much less to go on record as supporting it. They think the phrase “steady state economy” has negative connotations. They think this makes the steady state economy too difficult to promote.
... but it's not the promotion that bothers me, it's its achieving.
For example, I am still wondering at what scale all this operates – the world, I guess (though it's hard to see how that can be operationalised) – the country, most certainly, as sometimes it seems a big GDP machine – and the family perhaps? I read the CASSE position statement to find out more, and was surprised at how much seemed common sense. I liked its language and logic. Well-written, which is a nice change.
Something to come back to ...