The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Prosperity vs Growth

I liked this talk by Tim Jackson very much. Some of it might have been lifted from this article of mine explaining how sustainability and aggregate growth are incompatible in practice even if you account for declining carbon intensity of economic activity: the required rate is unrealistic.

But I shouldn't take too much credit. Much of the economic worldview I've been struggling to articulate comes through loud and clear here, far better than I've been able to manage.

I also like how Jackson addresses directly the usual calumny that being anti-growth is anti-development for the poor; and the rather silly claim that being anti-growth is anti-capitalist. All while sounding, to me at least, eminently reasonable and realistic. Maybe it helps that he's British.

Some of the comments on the TED site are also very insightful. Rather than split the conversation I'll redirect you there for discussion. So far all I have to add is a "+1" (except perhaps on the "Ecosia" bit). This is a major contribution toward a serious intellectual foundation for post-growth economics.