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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Limits to and beyond 'economic growth'

Went to an excellent talk by Prof. Tim Jackson - Economics Commissioner of the UK's Sustainable Development Commission - at Queens last night 'Northern Ireland and the Transition to a Sustainable Economy'. Tim author of the SDC's report Prosperity without Growth - - out next month as a book -Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet - What was one of the most interesting aspect of the evening - extremly well attended - was the utter silence from those who one would have imagined were defenders of the orthodox economic growth perspective in the audience (neo-classical economists, senior policy-makers etc.). Not one question or comment came from those in the lecture whom I would have expected to defend what Tim was criticising. Reflecting on this afterwards I suggested that 'power does not need to speak', the brave defenders of the economic status quo do not need to defend it with reasoned arguments. No doubt there was much mutterings afterwards about how utterly wrong Tim's analysis is, how impractical etc., but in public...silence and no sign of reaction, except the discernable stiffening of backs and shifting in seats. But nada by way of publicly defending what they believe....

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