On the first day of our course, missing some good old style academic knowledge, I looked into one of the readings provided in the printed course materials, one by Herman E. Daly on steady state economics. The author discusses the concepts of throughput, natural capital and the efficiency of its use. He also wonders why it is so difficult for the steady state economics to become incorporated by the mainstream economics. One reason he gives is that it would require a paradigm shift (reffering to Kuhn’s ephistemological views). Yet I am not fully convinced by this reason, as in fact the steady state economics only seem to add new factors to traditional economics, making its models work differently. Still, applying such basic concepts of economics as utility and marginal analysis one may arrive at the conclusions of steady state. All that is needed is to accept that natural resources are indeed a factor that can limit growth of the global economy, which seems only commonsensical. The other argument Mr. Daly suggests is that accepting steady state economics would force people, and especially governments, to face such problems as poverty and famine without being able to say (and think) that thanks to economic ‘development’ (or as Mr. Daly suggests, growth) will one day vanish. What is more, it might even require citizens of the rich North of our world to give away some of their comforts. One can hardly imagine a politician who might suggest that. They are rather likely to go on speaking of defending ‘their way of life’, just like Mr. Bush does as he proposes to go to another war in a far distant country, which is by some strange coincidence rich in crude oil. We might only hope that sooner or later this will change. What we need is sooner rather than later.
Why doesn’t mainstream science accept steady stage economics?
Posted in Uncategorized