Beyond Ponzi Economics

August 25, 2010 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Phil Wollen for this OpEd by Tom Flynn.

I’m not an economist, and I’ve never played a political scientist on TV.* But I peruse their literatures, and I’m puzzled by how seldom their discussions seem to focus on a problem that I consider desperately important. If I’m wrong-either because the problem is being tackled or because it’s less important than I think-I hope the economists and political scientists among our readers will set me straight.

The problem I have in mind is the ad¬dictive dependence of human eco¬no¬mies and political systems upon growth. Across history, the societies that successfully delivered “the good life” for their members have been societies engaged in growing in terms of population, wealth, physical territory, or natural resources. We associate growth with economic vigor, cultural vibrancy, and advances in human welfare. Stasis, or even growth that’s too slow, heralds malaise. Real shrinkage is often accompanied-or caused-by soc¬ial or economic collapse, military conquest, or epidemic disease.

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Current World Population


Net Growth During Your Visit