Archive for the ‘Abstractions’ Category

Growth, elephants and outsourcing, or: abstractions

In Swedish / på svenska.

I’ve recently watched the May 23 installment of the Swedish TV show “Vetenskapens värld” (“The world of science”). It had a quite interesting section on the idiocy of believing in eternal economic growth. There were plenty of examples showing how economic growth isn’t exactly unproblematic, and towards the end there was some discussion on the possibility of abandoning the concept of growth altogether and stop staring fixedly on one or another one-dimensional measure, and whether said measure can be described by a smaller or larger number than last year. Before that, though, the show spent quite some time pondering this very one-dimensional measure and the various talking heads launched into more or less confused (or confusing) speculations. The Canadian “environmental economist” Peter Victor believes he’s “shown” – using computer models – that an economy without growth can putter along nicely. The Senior Economist of Swedish bank SEB, Klas Eklund, somewhat confusingly argues that growth certainly can go on for ever, but we may have to redefine it in that case, so that it doesn’t destroy the planet.

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