The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Growth economics

Guest blogger Errol is a long time social change activist.It's incredible to think that so many educated and intelligent people, who run large nations' governments and industries, can seriously believe that, in a finite world, infinite growth is possible and base an economy on that notion. It is not an overstatement to say that growth economics has led us to the brink of environmental disaster, or, that if we do not develop a sustainable economy, based on human needs, we will soon be on the downhill side of that brink. Unlike the people who in the cartoon abandoned their world to a trash recycling robot, we haven't another world to which we can escape.

Growth economies made sense when almost everyone was poor and a few million people inhabited a frontier nation. In a world with six billion residents, they make absolutely no sense. Pollution, global warming, depleting resources, a third world clamoring for what the developed world now enjoys all make the economics which won the cold war impossible to sustain.

Is it greed which blinds us? We've elected a new president who we claim is a man of vision, but he cannot see the dead end down which he wants to lead us, or, if he can, he's keeping his vision a secret.
I witnessed the greater part of a century where nations practiced mass insanity: Hitler's Germany, The United States waging a war half-way around the world based on the domino theory that communism would spread like a disease from nation to nation. I see this insanity continued in the Bush doctrine of preemptive war. I am not foolish enough to believe that we will come to our senses until a disaster makes us face reality.

I do know that, to paraphrase Margaret Meade, a small group of thoughtful people can cause great changes if they are willing to band together and stick out their necks. Living an example is a great start, but it is not enough. As Gandhi, the civil rights and Vietnam anti-war movements showed us, it will take principled civil disobedience to get the nation's attention. I see groups demonstrating in front of Walmarts demanding that consumers buy goods made by American workers not Chinese communists. I see large groups of people going en-mass to Washington to petition their government. I see people protesting at merchants selling goods made using child and slave labor, made in countries which pollute the atmosphere, made where human rights are denied, grown on land where rainforests were burned to make crop land....

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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