Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Zoe Williams is profoundly awesome


Check her take on the population issue. See? Frickin awesome, dude!

I would like to observe, as one of the first commentators implies, that the reason that environmental commentators discuss stopping population growth whereas economists discussing immigration and welfare inevitably consider ways to maintain population growth is because the neoclassic economic model is both sociopathic and fucking stupid. Zoe should know that. As Herman Daly said:
"the biosphere that supports us is finite, non-growing, closed and constrained by the laws of thermodynamics"
You can't fuck with the laws of thermodynamics, as Jonathon Porritt points out:
"'Development without growth' is precisely the kind of talk that sends shivers down the spines of all good capitalists. But the self-inflicted blindness of contemporary capitalism to the laws of thermodynamics is the first and most problematic barrier to reconciling capitalism and sustainability. It is by no means the only barrier."
Jon's got another corker on this issue:
". . . at the heart of the issue of scale lurks the vexed issues of population growth. Cut it which way you will, growing populations necessitate growing economies to provide more food, more houses, more services, more teachers, more doctors and more jobs. Growth-bound economists and politically correct environmentalists conspire to keep the issue of population off the agenda, obscuring the incontrovertible reality that every extra human being makes it just a little bit harder to find ways of living within the Earth's limited carrying capacity. It would, however, seem unreasonable to lay the blame for this uniquely at the door of capitalism. Religion, ignorance, prejudice and political cowardice have at least as much to answer for.

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