The growth paradigm has caused a transgression of planetary boundaries - Briefly discuss Rockstrom et al.’s planetary boundaries
The Living Planet Index, compiled by the WWF, provides an indication of the declines in the overall abundance of wild species (not number of species gone extinct). The index currently incorporates data on the abundance of 555 terrestrial species, 323 freshwater species, and 267 marine species around the world. While the index fell by some 40% between 1970 and 2000, the terrestrial index fell by about 30%, the freshwater index by about 50%, and the marine index by around 30% over the same period. 4. What factors lead to biodiversity loss? 4.1 Biodiversity is declining rapidly due to factors such as land use change, climate change, invasive species, overexploitation, and pollution. Such natural or human-induced factors - referred to as drivers - tend to interact and amplify each other. They are also linked to indirect drivers that are at the root of many changes in ecosystems. The main indirect drivers are changes in human population, economic activity, and technology, as well as socio-political and cultural factors.
Global studies of GDP and happiness have shown that beyond a certain level of per capita wealth (which, incidentally, is approximately equal to the U.S. GDP per capita in 1946), the positive correlation between wealth and happiness deteriorates. (We must be clear that we are only illustrating uneconomic growth in the developed world. The developing world is entirely different, and growth there may still be of benefit. The U.S., however, is past the point of benefit.) As Manfred Max-Neef has written, there is more than one kind of poverty we face. There is a poverty for each basic human need: a poverty of food, a poverty of water, a poverty of shelter, a poverty of love, a poverty for every thing we need in life. While monetary poverty is a grave tragedy that must continue to be addressed both abroad and at home, so are the poverties of love, community, and self-esteem, for which more money may not be the answer. The answer is not to pursue growth for growth’s sake. If the past thirty years provide any indication, neither wealth nor satisfaction will benefit from that. What we should do instead is reorient our development toward a more diverse portfolio of aims, to meet all of our basic human needs, not just our needs for subsistence and “stuff.” http://blog.nickenge.org/tag/gdp/
GPI incorporates Economic, Social and Environmental Wellbeing indicators For the last thirty years in the United States, we’ve experienced what Herman Daly calls uneconomic growth. Uneconomic growth occurs when the marginal costs of growth meet (or exceed) the benefits of growth. As anyone who has ever taken economics knows, when the marginal costs exceed the marginal benefits, we are expected to stop, and do something else. Instead, we’ve irrationally clung to the belief that all GDP is good. Measuring by the GPI, the growing economy isn’t good for itself, let alone good for us, and of course, that is what really matters. Who is this economy supposed to be for? That’s right: you and me! How has GDP growth benefited us? We could talk about our standard of living: how we have more cars, more channels, more choices. But let’s cut right to the chase. What do you and I want most? To succeed in the famed “pursuit of happiness.” How much has GDP helped us in this? The short answer is simply: it hasn’t. http://blog.nickenge.org/tag/gdp/
The limits of one‘s subjectivity provide the horizon of choice. As per last comment, economics depends on reducing that horizon. The rationality produced is not legitmate, it is simply conveniently self-reproducing. This instantiates itself as a moral moment, because the reproducibility of this form is capable of being related to by all. The very work that it is obviating however, is the one that would increase the capacity of the individual to make choices beyond this horizon. Because of the economic empirical perceived benefit of a reduced horizon, all such other regarding must be considered „useless“.
How does the overarching theme of an „evolutionary narrative“ trump all other approaches to the normative or underlying ethical foundation. Why is an „evolutionary narrative“ trump Nullification and absorption within God's Infinite Light ( Hassidic schools of Judaism ) Deep intrinsic connection to the world ( Satori in Mahayana Buddhism , Te in Taoism ) Union with God ( Henosis in Neoplatonism and Theosis in Eastern and Western Christianity , Brahma-Prapti or Brahma-Nirvana in Hinduism ) Innate Knowledge ( Irfan and Sufism in Islam ) Experience of one's true blissful nature ( Samadhi Svarupa-Avirbhava in Hinduism and Buddhism) Seeing the Light, or &quot;that of God&quot;, in everyone ( Quakerism )
Peter Brown, Economics without Ecocide: the case for degrowth and the challenge for higher education
Economics without Ecocide: The Case for Degrowth and the Challenge to Higher Education David O’Brien Centre September 16, 2011 [email_address]
Reasons for Growth <ul><li>Population increase </li></ul><ul><li>Productivity improvements </li></ul><ul><li>Decreasing poverty </li></ul><ul><li>Increased happiness through consumption </li></ul><ul><li>Social and political stability </li></ul>
GWP to 2100 at 2% or 3% annual growth O $ Billion Year 2011 3% 2% Source: Garver, 2010
Are We Getting What We Are Paying SO Dearly For?
Are We Happier? - No positive correlation between wealth and happiness Source: World Database of Happiness
Source: Victor, 2010 Are We Better Off? <ul><li>Monetary wealth and wellbeing not correlated </li></ul>
Poverty <ul><li>Growth has not reduced poverty in most developed countries </li></ul><ul><li>Redistribution is necessary </li></ul>
How Could We Have Made Such an Enormous Mistake? Fundamental Mistakes Deep in European Culture
Roots <ul><li>Judeo-Christian Ideas of the Separation and Superiority of Humanity/Nature </li></ul><ul><li>The Emphasis in Greek Thought on Human Uniqueness and Independence </li></ul><ul><li>European Enlightenment Further Tragically Legitimates these Assumptions. </li></ul>
Toward an Ethical Foundation for an Ecological Political Economy Part Two Redefining and Redesigning Our Place in a Learning Universe: The Challenge to the Academy and the Opportunity of Degrowth
Outline <ul><li>1. Re-g rounding our understanding of our relationship with life and the world. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Redefining who we are, (what we know,) and how we should act in light of a theory of the universe. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Redesigning economics, finance and governance. </li></ul><ul><li>4. ( Restoring the place of religion as a fundamental dimension of the human relationship to the Earth/Universe.) </li></ul>
Re-grounding : A Universe Ever Advancing into Novelty An Evolutionary and Systems (etc.) Theory Perspective
Re-envisioning Our Place in the Universe <ul><li>A. Vast creative processes </li></ul><ul><li>B. Contemporary thermodynamics </li></ul><ul><li>C. Mind and nature </li></ul><ul><li>D. We need to change our metaphysics to one of The Commonwealth of Life </li></ul>
A. Continuous Creation http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://flatrock.org.nz/topics/science/assets/eagle_nebula.jpg&imgrefurl=http://flatrock.org.nz/topics/science/eagle_nebula.htm&h=645&w=650&sz=35&tbnid=CqfW_fAc387wiM:&tbnh=133&tbnw=135&hl=en&start=17&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dpillars%2Bof%2Bcreation%26imgsz%3Dsmall%257Cmedium%257Clarge%257Cxlarge%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26sa%3DG
Some features of a universe ever advancing into novelty <ul><li>Beginning 13.8 billion years ago it is evolutionary story in which biological evolution is a special case. (Chaisson) </li></ul><ul><li>A principal descriptor of the process is the second law of thermodynamics. </li></ul><ul><li>It describes the processes that reduce temperature and other gradients. Entropy. </li></ul><ul><li>To do this the universe uses dissipative structures, and self organizing entities—wind, currents, life. It both creates and destroys complexity. </li></ul>
Mind and Spirit <ul><li>This universe has direction but no destination. It is an optimizing process trying to be as cool as it can be. Tropical forest. </li></ul><ul><li>Human mind and spirit are emergent properties implicit from the beginning. Chardin. </li></ul><ul><li>But mind is widespread. As Henry Beston says of the other animals in The Outermost House, 1928. </li></ul><ul><li>(By the way--plants also learn.) </li></ul>
What is earth, life and ecosystems? <ul><li>An island of complexity in an entropic universe. </li></ul><ul><li>Life on earth are the encoded dissipative structures which handle the massive amounts of sunlight that continuously arrive. </li></ul><ul><li>What are ecosystems? Ecosystems are the biotic, physical, and chemical components of nature acting together as non-equilibrium dissipative processes. Ecosystem complexity increases energy degradation. </li></ul><ul><li>Rio Declaration Principle 12!!!. </li></ul>
God made man in his image and gave the world to him.
But co-evolution suggests: The Commonwealth of Life
Elements Needing Redefinition <ul><li>Who we are </li></ul><ul><li>(What we know) </li></ul><ul><li>What we should do </li></ul>
The early 20 th century “person” in the 21 st century world <ul><li>The operating ethic of economics is derived from the utilitarianism of the J.S. Mill. </li></ul><ul><li>But Mill’s concern with the common good has been removed—or is allegedly resolved by the market. Empathy is folly. </li></ul><ul><li>The neo-classical “rational” person is the deliberator seeking his/her happiness. </li></ul>
Who we are (Wheeler) <ul><li>A complex systems view of the human self—sensitive to initial conditions, wide variation in outcome, holistic, multiple feedback loops. </li></ul><ul><li>We are the result of dissipative structures giving rise to the emergent person , entangled in brain/body/environment/culture/cosmos. </li></ul><ul><li>The human self is continuous with the cosmos and perhaps best described in quantum terms. </li></ul><ul><li>We are osmotic with respect to matter and energy. </li></ul><ul><li>We are relational and semiotically (through shared meanings) inter-subjective. </li></ul>
From Newton to Prigogine <ul><li>A view of the world as made up of (sometimes interchangeable) parts has been replaced by a complex systems view. </li></ul><ul><li>Events within these systems are irreversible. </li></ul><ul><li>Complex systems have multiple, interactive feedback loops, and fragile initial conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of these systems is typically incomplete, and provisional. </li></ul><ul><li>Surprise should not surprise us. </li></ul>
Some Consequences of Complex Systems for Ethics <ul><li>We must manage ourselves, but we are not good at this. Managing nature should not be the emphasis. </li></ul><ul><li>We need compassionate retreat: as in a battle that cannot be won—our pullback should be designed to limit the loss of human and nonhuman life; and to minimize damage to Earth’s life support systems. </li></ul>
What we teach and what we think What is urgently needed is a reconstruction of our curricula, and our collective understanding , in terms of the evolutionary narrative. The subjects from which we derive our norms have not systematically connected with this narrative: law, ethics, finance, economics, politics, and most theology are metaphysical orphans.
Some of what has to get redesigned <ul><li>Economics </li></ul><ul><li>Finance </li></ul><ul><li>Governance </li></ul>
A Strategy of Redesign by Interrogation <ul><li>How would these patterns of thought be different if we connected them with our scientific view of the world? </li></ul><ul><li>How would they be different if we understood we are in the Anthropocene, not the Holocene? </li></ul>
Economics in an Evolutionary World (Bernanke) <ul><li>We need to confront five questions about the economy: </li></ul><ul><li>1) what is it for? </li></ul><ul><li>2) how does it work? </li></ul><ul><li>3) how big should it be? </li></ul><ul><li>4) what is fair? </li></ul><ul><li>5) how should it be governed? </li></ul>
Economics in Complex Systems II <ul><li>The economy should be for a flourishing Earth and maintain and enhance the complex adaptive systems that support emergence, and hence life. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a system of flows of energy and matter. </li></ul><ul><li>It must be scaled to be supportive of those systems of which it is a part. </li></ul><ul><li>Fairness requires the flourishing of life. </li></ul><ul><li>Governance must be grounded in a systems perspective. </li></ul>
Finance (Bodie and Merton) <ul><li>Financial concepts and instruments play a large role in the scale, character and direction material and energy flows. Yet, like economics, finance is NOT connected to a scientific understanding of the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Does not recognize that we have entered the Anthropocene. </li></ul><ul><li>Money is the socially sanctioned right to intervene in the Earth’s ability to maintain far from equilibrium systems. All life on Earth lives in the shadow of the guillotine of finance. </li></ul><ul><li>Increasingly financial institutions govern the state not the other way around. </li></ul><ul><li>Finance can create incentives to increase risk! </li></ul>
Many of the building blocks of political liberalism are destabilized <ul><li>Self-regarding acts. A null set. </li></ul><ul><li>The Sovereign Consumer—complete nonsense! </li></ul><ul><li>Property. Human ownership implausible, boundaries are fictions, wisdom of giving power to the uninformed, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>The costs of “tolerance” and “progress.” </li></ul><ul><li>Its material conditions (cheap energy, few people) are expiring. </li></ul>
A Fundamental Transformation Degrowth as an Opportunity for a Mutually Enhancing Earth/Human Relationship
Overshoot and reduction paths From the Living Planet Report 2008, www. panda.org
Redirecting the Growth Agenda <ul><li>Technology/productivity improvements increase leisure/reduce impact </li></ul><ul><li>The human population must be reduced; especially in the developed world; e.g. North America. </li></ul><ul><li>The aggregate level of material wealth must decline. </li></ul><ul><li>These steps taken in time and sufficient quantity can lead to planetary and social stability and the well being of life’s commonwealth. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Paris, 2008; Barcelona, 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>North, Central, South America </li></ul><ul><li>Academic, activist, artist, business, political, union communities </li></ul><ul><li>Keynote Speakers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>David Suzuki </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Naomi Klein </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Herman Daly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Edgardo Lander </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joan Martinez-Alier </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Serge Mongeau </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>William Rees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Peter Victor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sponsors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>McGill School of Environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Concordia's David O'Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HEC Montréal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Université de Montréal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chaire de responsabilité sociale et développement durable, UQAM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Montreal Tourism </li></ul></ul>
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