Thursday, November 18, 2010

Account Balance: Red

Pro-globalization cheerleaders such as Fareed Zakaria tell us that economic growth is not zero-sum, that mutual wealth and prosperity for all is a realistic goal.    

Growth is only not zero sum within a very shallow economic frame that ignores externalities.  The biosphere for all (human) intents and purposes is a closed system.  In a closed system, for one thing to grow, something else has to be depleted.  That’s zero-sum.  In fact, because our economy is driven almost entirely by a focus on short-term gain that ignores the very substantial long-term costs of that short-term gain (gulf oil rupture, anyone?), there is a lopsidedness built into our ideas of growth that make it not just a zero-sum, but a we-all-lose. 

My grandchildren and great grandchildren into the 7th generation will be paying the price for the economic growth that has occurred in just the last decade—if anyone is still left standing, that is.

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