Chasing economic growth doesn't add up in long term

26 October 2008

In response to the New Scientist special issue 'The Folly of Growth', Green Party Leader, Dr Caroline Lucas MEP has written the following letter.

26 October 2008  
 
Dear Sir
 
Congratulations on your special issue on The Folly of Growth which offered a much-needed antidote to the idea that, as the economic crisis deepens, our priority must be to kick-start the economy back into the direction it was heading before the crash (New Scientist, 18 October 2008).
 
I have only one quibble with your authors. Professor Tim Jackson asserts that there are no politicians today who dare to acknowledge that mindlessly chasing after ever-increasing economic growth is not compatible with sustainability.
 
In fact, Green Party politicians have been saying exactly that for over thirty years. We have also been putting it into practice, challenging the received wisdom that the way to achieve well-being is to accumulate ever more “stuff”. Green members of the European Parliament, the London Assembly, and of local councils up and down the country continue to advocate alternative indicators of progress, propose ambitious policies to improve the durability and efficiency of products, promote alternatives to free trade, and encourage a redistribution of work and incomes.
 
Back in the 1930s, it was President Roosevelt's New Deal which helped the world emerge from economic depression through a massive public works programme. We now urgently need to update that programme, and introduce a Green New Deal - which would re-regulate the national and international finance systems, encourage fair and green taxation, close down tax havens, and generate a transformational economic programme to substantially decarbonise our economy.
 
The current economic crisis offers an unprecedented opportunity to start the much-needed shift towards a truly sustainable, steady-state economy.  As more and more people recognise that the relentless march of free-market capitalism is both environmentally and economically unsustainable, perhaps politicians of other parties will have the courage to say so too.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Dr Caroline Lucas MEP
Leader, Green Party

Read the New Scientist Special Report here






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