Against Bruce Anderson, growth-fetishist

Bruce Anderson (See his ‘The environmental debate…’, Mon. 17 Dec.) pretends to be a friend of cool dispassion, and spends a fair bit of his article repeatedly and distastefully making fun of the Dutch man at the heart of the UN climate change negotiations who cared so much about what he was trying to do that he broke down in tears while on the podium. He accuses us greens moreover of being devotees of a “fanatical cult”. But Mr. Anderson himself is a devotee of what truly is a fanatical unreasoning cult: the cult of economic growth. He never stops to ask the question why economic growth is presupposed by so many, including himself, to be ‘a good thing’. The answer to the question of whether economic growth actually is a good thing is: It is when it improves quality of life, and it is not when it does not. And the evidence is getting stronger all the time that since about 1970, economic growth in the West has NOT improved quality of life – it has made it worse.

This is hardly surprising, when you consider that among the things included in GDP are expenditures on arms manufacture, funerals, and toxic waste clean-up.

Mr. Anderson should in future examine his own beliefs a little more carefully, before accusing anyone else of being a fanatic.

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