The end of growth?

Richard Heinberg’s new book, The End of Growth, is generating a lot of publicity. It claims that, despite what many politicians and policymakers are saying, growth will not return to the major economies. The enormous sums that governments around the world have spent trying to stimulate growth during the recession have brought no meaningful gains. For Heinberg, the very idea of ‘perpetual growth’, shared by both Keynesian New Deal economics and trickle-down Reagonomics, is over.

Heinberg claims it is unlikely that developed economies will adapt to this new reality voluntarily or anytime soon. In fact, governments, corporations and large-scale institutions will most likely try to obstruct changes to the status quo. As a consequence, Heinberg focuses on what individuals and local communities can do to help with the transition towards a zero growth economy.

I find myself firmly on the ‘growth is good’ side of the debate. This article, by Daniel Ben-Ami, sums up my position. Up to a point.


The (green) case for AV

James Murray of Business Green has put forward an eloquent (green) case for voting #YES2AV in today’s referendum on electoral reform. He calls it a “once-in-a-generation chance to move towards a voting system that would raise the profile of environmental issues by making green votes count.” How?

AV would force the mainstream parties to campaign harder for the second preference votes of environmentalists. As a result of this relatively minor change to the electoral system, green issues are likely to be forced a couple of notches up the political agenda.

Unfortunately, most polling in recent days has predicted a big win for the “No” vote. Exit polls should provide an indication of the result around midnight.