Pilot Letter: Time to scale back on growth

https://www.pilotonline.com/opinion/letters/vp-ed-leta-0829-20190829-tunuyfzlpngyzmulw3vaka7w6i-story.html

I really wish people would stop framing the issue this way. I have no doubt the author means well, but people who do not mean well will take this in a Malthusian direction. You’re ceding the premise of the neo-fascists.

5 thoughts on “Pilot Letter: Time to scale back on growth

  1. RE: “I really wish people would stop framing the issue this way.”

    Me too. Economic growth is not the problem. It is the solution.

    I believe that routine economic growth rates of 10% to 20% are feasible. To get them we will need to apply new thinking. By, for example:

    • Abandoning the 19th Century debate which pits capitalism against socialism. It has become a straightjacket.
    • Fostering greater public appreciation of the inherent limitations of science so that we don’t waste so much time over impractical ideas (in the areas of climate change and health care, especially).

    • Developing economic policies which do a better job at eliminating debt across the board (both public and private).

    • Becoming willing to support super-large engineering projects, such as the economic development of space for mining, manufacturing and energy production.

    Assuming that we, like the letter writer, want Earth to become a Garden of Eden, a growing, productive economy is the way to do it. Harping on imagined limitations is the way to not do it.

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    1. “Fostering greater public appreciation of the inherent limitations of science so that we don’t waste so much time over impractical ideas (in the areas of climate change and health care, especially).”

      “Becoming willing to support super-large engineering projects, such as the economic development of space for mining, manufacturing and energy production.”

      So science is only powerless to do things that might help regular people? Cool.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ““Fostering greater public appreciation of the inherent limitations of science so that we don’t waste so much time over impractical ideas (in the areas of climate change and health care, especially).”

    What limitations? Why do they have to be limited? If we had that kind of thinking, we never would have made it to space, the moon and beyond. And I found it interesting that you picked 2 of the most important issues facing the world today to limit.

    “Abandoning the 19th Century debate which pits capitalism against socialism. It has become a straightjacket.”
    Unfettered capitalism will not get us to any kind of Eden. It will destroy the planet before anyone sees any true benefit, except those at the top of the economic tier. And trickle down don’t work. The last three attempts have all failed miserably.

    And you seem to say that science has limitations in one of your bullet points and then close with the idea that imagined limitations is not the way back to Eden.

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    1. RE: “What limitations?”

      Here are two examples:

      • Climate science. Not a single scientist living today can tell you, provably, how global warming works, or even if it is actually happening. Not a single climate model that can reliably predict the future exists.
      • Medical science. Some medical conditions are incurable, and may remain so forever. Some conditions have effective treatments that are prohibitively expensive, and may remain expensive forever.

      These are inherent limitations of science in the sense that science only knows what it knows, and nothing more. If more people appreciated this, there would be less push to rely on dubious science as a basis for public policy.

      RE: “Unfettered capitalism will not get us to any kind of Eden.”

      Not the argument. Economic growth in the 10% to 20% range getting us to Eden is the argument.

      RE: “And you seem to say that science has limitations in one of your bullet points and then close with the idea that imagined limitations is not the way back to Eden.”

      There’s no conflict. The malthusian anti-growth argument is dubious science, at best. It describes an “imagined limitation” in its own right, as opposed to a real one, such as the tortuously slow translation of science into engineering.

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