Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Will Economic Growth Destroy The Planet?

Normally I rely on NPR's Planet Money for good, accurate and honest reporting. Reporting that takes a careful look at all the sides of an issue concerning economics and carefully spells it out for the lay person. I have learned more from this program than I did in any economics course.

However, I must protest the oversimplified version of economic growth they presented in episode #317 'Will Economic Growth Destroy The Planet?' In it they attempt to answer a question 'Is economic growth bad for the planet?' which they say comes from many of their listeners. In the episode the hosts of Planet Money talk to a few economists and come to the conclusion that economic growth in it's current form is good for the planet.  Most economists love economic growth and call it an essential driver of rising living standards, the economists in the show also think of economic growth as being exactly right for the planet as well.

The producers overlooked a whole genera of economics, one that follows Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic and E.F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful; ideas about economics that are quickly gaining ground. I think that Planet Money should revisit the question and interview the economists who are thinking outside the box. Economists like Manfred Max Neef and business people like Woody Tasch should be part of the next show.

Check out Manfred Max Neef and his barefoot economics at the World Future Council:

Read more about Woody Tasch and the Slow Money project:

Hope can be found in James Gustave Speth's piece for Yes Magazine 'America the Possible: A Manifesto' in Yes Magazine
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