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A sustainable economy ? Think again.

Fantasyland - flickr creative commons - PincessAshley

I like to see and read the entries from Resilient Communities and Democracy at Work and other similar sites.  Both offer some good information.

And Richard Wolff is spot on in his evaluation of how we got to where we are in most respects.

I feel however that nearly all these ideas leave out one one basic calculation and that is the ever increasing population.  The continued strain we are putting on the resources that we have, which are finite. Worse yet climate change is even now diminishing our available resources with longer and more sever droughts and interrupted growing seasons.

When this country or continent was being settled it was a capitalist’s and serf’s wet dream come true. Land as far as the eye see. There was some place one could grown just about anything or raise cattle or what not. At the beginning of the industrial revolution, resources were there pretty much for the taking. Rivers could be dammed for energy and coal – and later oil – were abundant. Iron and copper and zinc and on and on.

Fresh clean water and air and what not.  But in a little over 200 years this has ceased to be the case. Our oil fields have gone dry. Coal is now too dirty to use in any scale and it’s mining pollutes the rivers and streams.  Any river that could be dammed for energy has already  been.   Any land that is good growing is spoken for. That which is left is rocky or desert or both.

But even this presentation tends to be a bit on the optimistic side as it does not truly take into account the effect of population growth and climate change.   Nor does it take into account the fact humans rarely behave in a reasonable and rational manner when faced with their backs increasingly against the wall.

Ives Smith at Naked Capitalism  shows how the increasing student debt is even now dragging on the economy as new graduates are finding it more and more difficult – if not impossible – find employment.

And yet most – if not nearly everyone – seems to think we can some how avoid the inevitable or make it somehow less painful.   I see this as highly unlikely as long was we insist on growth in any area. And stopping growth in population seems to be the one area nobody wants to deal with. Yet it is the one area that needs to be dealt with the most.  As long as humans insist on creating more humans, it simply is not possible to have a sustainable future that is not some dystopic hell.



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