A Coal Pile in the Ballroom

Posted on Apr 19, 2012
A Coal Pile in the Ballroom

Economic growth turns social reciprocity and gift relationships (two components of GNH) into paid services. It converts pristine ecosystems into sources of timber or minerals. It converts silence into noise, starry skies into urban lights, kitchen gardens into supermarket purchases, mom’s cooking into fast food takeout. It replaces the village storyteller with the TV cartoon, mothering with day care, outdoor play with video games. A society that still has these former things intact, and meets its needs without much money, is called, by economists, an “undeveloped market.” The process of liquidating social and natural capital is called “development.” Clearly, our conception of sustainable development is begging for scrutiny.

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1 Comment

  1. Josh Clark
    April 23, 2012

    Not only did I really enjoy your Portland Sacred Economics lecture, it also inspired the attached chart depicting the correlation between US crude oil production and GDP growth.