The #GreenParty Case for challenging Economic ‘Growth’

A resume of the talk I gave at the recent Cambridge ‘beyond economic growth’ Conference: 

 

 

 

1970s ‘The Limits to Growth’, Club of Rome.  The report was ‘discredited’ because it predicted that certain resources would run out before they have done.  However, the report’s predictions about pollution were in fact too conservative.

 

Saral Sarkar ‘The Crises of Capitalism’ 2011– limits to growth is a causal factor in the financial crisis – the Return on Investment on ‘real’ products declines as the availability of resources becomes more limited.  This means money has to be made through speculation, debts etc.

 http://www.oekosozialismus.net/The+Crises+of+Capitalism.+Saral+Sarkar.+2011.pdf

 

Hegemony of growthist discourse.  But this conference has over 100 ambassadors who can challenge the presumption in favour of economic growth.  We need to stop the the economy plunging into uncontrolled depression, but that does not require economic growth. It requires a Green New Deal, as described here: http://rupertread.org/rupertread.org/wordpress/?p=310

 

‘Green House’ Think Tank’s post-growth project: aims to work out what GB would look like if we did not subscribe to economic growth.  Deep reframing – establishing a basis for an alternative hegemony; treating future generations as being equally deserving.

www.greenhousethinktank.org

 

We need a new name for this alternative.  I favour ‘Dynamic Equilibrium Economy’.

 

Aubrey Meyer: ‘contract and converge’ 1996 – idea of indefinite economic growth with no impact on environment (what Meyer called ‘angelisation’) is absurd. Daly mkes the same argument.

 

Decoupling (ie growth without environmental impact):

Types of decoupling:

·         relative (not good enough)

·         absolute (has not been shown to work in any instance)

Jonathon Porritt: ‘Capitalism as if the World Matters’ 2005 – says relative decoupling may be possible, but to date there are no examples of absolute decoupling.

Even though it is true that there will have been (relatively sh periods during which carbon emissions ‘apparently’ dropped to a greater extent than is accounted for by recession, these effects are more than outweighed over time by such factors as the continual growth of air travel (including especially ‘one-sided’ air-travel, air travel originating in Britain – see my evidence on this, below) and shipping especially since about 1970, and above all the continual rise in embodied emissions especially since the 1950s. See for example my evidence here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmenvaud/1080/1080vw10.htm 

There has without doubt been a vast increase in imports of embodied emissions over the past two generations, particularly the past generation: this increase outweighs all the carbon emission ‘reductions’ claimed since 1990. Basically, as I stressed in my evidence to Parliament, what has happened is a gargantuan mistake, from a global point of view – we have moved production to where labour is cheap, but labour is no longer the genuinely ‘constraining resource’ (sic.); we have offshored emissions and multiplied them considerably, in the process.

Here are the key sources:
http://www.dieterhelm.co.uk/sites/default/files/Carbon_record_2007.pdf

These actually do reasonably convincing calculations that show that increases in emissions due to net imports outweigh other reductions. The Helm one is more accessible if a bit rougher; the essentials are on page 19.  

 

Need for growth? – assumption that we have inexhaustible needs and that we need more economic growth to satisfy those needs.

EG removes need for equity and fairness – if we all grow, the argument goes, even poorest will benefit and be raised from poverty – ‘trickle down’ effect.  So don’t need to address social equity issues in other ways.  But ‘trickle down’ has not happened: wealth concentrates in hands of a few.

See Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett: ‘The Spirit Level’ 2009 for the consequences…

Sheffield lecture on guardians for future generations, next week

Guest lecture: A Superjury to Safeguard the Future Against Eco-threats
23rd May 2012

Synopsis

‘Democracy’ means ‘government by the people’; but who are ‘the people’? Society exists over time and decisions taken today can have significant consequences for people yet to be born. In his recent report, Rupert Read argues that the interests of future generations should be formally represented within our existing parliamentary democracy. This will form the main subject of the talk, with time allocated for a debate. The report can be viewed here

Speaker Biography 

Rupert Read is Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia. Rupert (www.rupertread.net) works closely with environmental scientists, in eco-philosophy, at UEA, including on a new multi-disciplinary Masters course. His publications include his popular book, ‘Philosophy for Life: applying philosophy in politics and culture’. He was a Norwich Green Party Councillor from 2004-2011. He blogs on environmental reframing atwww.greenwordsworkshop.org. He is Chair of Green House.

Date 23rd May 2012

Time 13.00

Venue LT07 Sir Frederick Mappin Building

RSVP Jonathan Green

Glasman in #Norwich!: Philosopher-Kings series continues

Glasman is a genius – if you haven’t heard him speak, then you MUST come to this:

Lord Maurice Glasman talks about the politics of Blue Labour

 

On Thursday 17 May, Lord Maurice Glasman will give a lecture entitled Transgressive and Faithful: The Politics of Blue Labour as part of the new PSI/PHI lecture series – Philosopher Kings? How philosophy informs real politics today.

 

Lord Glasman was appointed a Labour life peer in 2011. He is Director of the Faith and Citizenship Programme at London Metropolitan University.

 

A response to the talk will be given by UEA’s Professor Alan Finlayson.

 

The lecture, which is free to attend, will be held in Lecture Theatre 1, UEA at 6.00pm.

 

www.uea.ac.uk/phi/eventsnews/events/maurice-glasman

Glasman is a genius – if you haven’t heard him speak, then you MUST come to this event, in this seies which I co-created…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glasman attacks communitarian philosophy at UEA this week:

Lord Maurice Glasman talks about the politics of Blue Labour.

 

On Thursday 17 May, Lord Maurice Glasman will give a lecture entitled Transgressive and Faithful: The Politics of Blue Labour as part of the new PSI/PHI lecture series – Philosopher Kings? How philosophy informs real politics today.

 

Lord Glasman was appointed a Labour life peer in 2011. He is Director of the Faith and Citizenship Programme at London Metropolitan University.

 

A response to the talk will be given by UEA’s Professor Alan Finlayson.

 

The lecture, which is free to attend, will be held in Lecture Theatre 1, UEA at 6.00pm.

 

www.uea.ac.uk/phi/eventsnews/events/maurice-glasman

 

 

 

Philosopher-Kings first event: Cruddas

I’ll be chairing this; do come!:

 

 

Jon Cruddas, MP talks about The Good Society

 

On Thursday 10 May, Jon Cruddas will give a lecture entitled The Good Society as part of the new PSI/PHI lecture series – Philosopher Kings? How philosophy informs real politics today. Jon Cruddas is a Labour politician, who is MP for Dagenham.

A response to the talk will be given by UEA’s Dr Liz McKinnell (PHI).

 

The lecture, which is free to attend, will be held in Lecture Theatre 1, UEA at 5.15pm.

 

www.uea.ac.uk/phi/eventsnews/events/jon-cruddas

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond austerity: I’m speaking in Hemel Hempstead on 11 May on this.

Looking forward to revisiting Dacorum Green Party!:



‘Public Services Cuts and more…Cuts?’


7.45 pm Friday May 11th
Gadebridge Community Centre – Rossgate, HP1 3LF


Come along to our local community meeting and find
out about alternatives to severe austerity.
Join a debate on what we should do to rebuild our society.
Can we create a more stable economy that is not driven by
greed, speculation and inflated financial values?


Speakers :Rupert Read, Co-ordinator of the Green Party in the Eastern Region
Maurice Sheehan, UNISON
Councillor Maureen Flint (Labour), Gadebridge Ward


Chair : Paul Harris, Chair of the Dacorum Green Party
  Contact: Paul Harris, 15 Fallowfield, HP1 3N7

Let the bee be: Action at Bayer, Norwich

This picture of a remarkable direct-action demo at Bayer earlier this week has just come to my attention. According to the documentary film, THE VANISHING OF THE BEES, which I have just seen, Bayer’s ‘technology’ is probably partly responsible for the terrifying mass die-offs of bees in the USA and other countries (including the UK). This as I understand it is the reason that lay behind what happened at Bayer Norwich the other night. Congratulations to those who managed to raise this banner drawing attention to the situation, at Bayer!