Economic Growth vs. The Environment
Can we save the environment without sacrificing economic growth? An article by Yale’s School of Forestry Professor James Gustave Speth in Harvard Business Review. “Doing business in a post growth Society.”
He asks the hard question is it possible to grow and not degrade the environment. “Just as unlimited population expansion in untenable so is unlimited GDP growth. He forecasts that this” will set off a ruthless international search” for resources from oil, minerals, food and water. Which as we all read is happening now and is potentially leading to some major territorial disputes.
He would like us to learn how to thrive in a Post growth Society. One of less consumption higher prices but a “higher quality of life”. (Which we need to define subsequently)
Professor Speth is worried that so many of us think that technology alone is sufficient to save us from the shortfalls of the future, and states that technology innovation is only half the solution. Changes of society’s behavior is the other half. Get people, corporations, and governments to understand the true costs of a product of service or of a way of life and then begin to adjust our methods and approach to living.
So what is a higher quality of life? Is it more of what we have materially, or is it more time for family, friends and well meaning endeavors? Is it a job more satisfying that benefits a new way of life? Is it to have a beautiful natural environment that we have access to and use of natural habits that surround us where we live?
All in all it is very hard to imagine that the road we as a society are heading down can lead to better good outcome.