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March 09, 2011



A brilliant review and I could not agree more.
Diane Coyle's bet-hedging is consistent with the prevailing syndrome among Western policymakers. This is the extreme tension between the widely held rhetorical diagnosis of deep structural and ecological problems ahead, generated by the growth model to a large extent, and the actual commitment to policies to promote the growth model. Hence the inability to look climate scientists in the eye or to tell electorates the truth about the possibility of serious looming scarcities; and hence the recourse to phrases such as 'Green Growth', which might turn out to be oxymoronic. The diagnosis of trouble ahead casts extreme doubt on the very economic model being touted as the only possible way of doing things. This is no great surprise: we all change our worldviews with reluctance, if at all, and there are few economic policymakers and gurus around who remember life before neoliberalism or can imagine an alternative to the economics of what I call the Long 1980s (1980-2010 and counting).

Dick Pountain

I'm currently reviewing "The Ecological Rift" which covers much of the same ground but from a position of (unorthodox) Marxism. It shares the same ambiguity too, thanks to the vagueness of abstract terms like "associated producers" and "social ownership". It could be used to justify just about anything between Lula and Pol Pot...

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