"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

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.