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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


The Economy of Death

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: economics, economic growth, no-growth economics, GNP, natural resources, environment, Keith Goetzman,

Stacked logs in British Columbia

More and more voices are pointing out that the idea of limitless economic growth is folly given the environment’s limits, and Utne Reader recently reprinted a Mother Jones story that explored the sensibly radical idea of a no-growth economy. But no one has described as succinctly as Orion columnist Derrick Jensen just how consumption is bumping up against creation. In his February column, Jensen asks:

… what, after all, is production? It is the conversion of the living to the dead, the conversion of living forests into two-by-fours, living rivers into stagnant pools for generating hydroelectricity, living fish into fish sticks, and ultimately all of these into money. And what, then, is gross national product? It is a measure of this conversion of the living to the dead. The more quickly the living world is converted into dead products, the higher the GNP. These simple equations are complicated by the fact that when GNP goes down, people often lose jobs. No wonder the world is getting killed.

Source: Orion 

Image by iangbl, licensed under Creative Commons.