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How stalling growth hurts the planet

How stalling growth hurts the planet thumbnail

Some environmentalists and economists are pushing for “degrowth” — stabilizing or even shrinking the economy — to avert environmental catastrophe.

The big picture: Degrowthism may seem like the only reasonable response to the climate challenges we face, but the experience of enforced economic shrinking during the pandemic indicates the pain would outweigh the benefits — especially for the world’s poorest.

Where it stands: The global economy shrank by an estimated 4.3% in 2020, according to data from the World Bank.

  • That contraction was due both to the direct pain of the pandemic and the effects of social distancing measures, but it also led to a roughly 6% reduction in global carbon dioxide emissions — the biggest annual drop since WWII.

How it works: However accidental, 2020 represented perhaps the best example we’ve ever experienced of degrowthism in action.

  • For degrowthers, simply cleaning up the global economy by switching from fossil fuels to zero-carbon sources of energy isn’t enough. Economic growth — the goal of essentially every government everywhere — is itself the problem.
  • Environmental activist Greta Thunberg summed up the argument when she chastised delegates at a UN climate summit in 2019: “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
  • The movement now has its own dedicated academic journals, associations and conferences.

The catch: The very real human pain of 2020 — and the political fallout it created — should be taken as a warning sign to degrowthers.

  • A new Pew Research Center analysis found the ranks of the global middle income — those who live on $10.01 to $20 a day — fell by 54 million in 2020 compared to the number projected before the pandemic, while the number of global poor rose by 131 million.
  • And while carbon emissions did fall significantly in 2020, it came at a high cost. One analysis estimated that each ton of CO2 reduced due to pandemic-related degrowth will have an implied cost to the economy of more than $1,500.
  • That’s “an order of magnitude greater than the most costly of ‘technofixes'” like direct capture of carbon from the air, as Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute wrote last year.

Between the lines: The strongest argument around degrowth is one rooted in a goal that its own advocates strive for: global equity.

  • In a piece posted earlier this week, economist Max Roser of Our World in Data estimated the amount of global growth required to bring everyone in the world up to the level of poor people in the fairly rich nation of Denmark would be 410%.
  • Whether or not global poverty can be truly conquered — meaning getting everyone at least to the minimum of the developed world — “overwhelmingly depends on whether the average incomes in those countries that are home to the poorest billions of people in the world will increase or not,” Roser writes.

Be smart: With reason, we tend to focus on the huge and growing wealth gap between the ultrarich and the middle class and poor in rich countries like the U.S. But a much bigger gap exists between even the relatively less well-off in the developed world and most of humanity.

  • Take electricity access, one of the basic fundamental requirements for a modern lifestyle: Californians use more electricity just to play video games than the total amount of power consumed by everyone in countries like Ghana and Kenya, according to one estimate.

Flashback: This isn’t the first time the idea of degrowth or economic stasis has been raised. Utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill argued in mid-19th century England that “economic growth in the richest countries had run its course.”

What to watch: For all the environmental pressure growth has created, in recent decades, both rich and poor countries have been able to continue to grow while reducing many pollutants through more efficiency and cleaner energy.

  • Growing while reducing carbon emissions enough to avert dangerous climate change will be tougher, but that’s beginning to happen as well.

The bottom line: To paraphrase Winston Churchill on democracy, the pursuit of growth has its faults, but it still may be the least worst way to organize an economy.


37 Comments on "How stalling growth hurts the planet"

  1. Fred on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 8:54 am 

    Honestly? Perpetual growth on a finite planet? More planned obsolescence converting more resources into more waste to “save” the planet? What a load of BS.
    Sure, de-growth will be very painful but is nothing compared to what we end up with if we keep doing what we’re doing. These kind of articles are designed to confuse people into remaining passive, to continue to chase the $ to buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like.

    We won’t be getting the future we ordered.

  2. Biden's hairplug on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 10:07 am

    Axios defends corporate interests, environment is a non-issue.

    VandeHei said he wanted Axios to be a “mix between The Economist and Twitter”

    Basically a site for people with short attention spans.

  3. supremacist muzzies lovin supertard on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 12:24 pm 

    muzzie in boulder offed 10 (((supertards))) and cop

    cops love supremacist muzzies more

  4. peakyeast on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 2:40 pm 

    Sounds to me like they have the same problems as the “protector” in Larry Nivens Ringworld.

  5. FamousDrScanlon on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 3:03 pm 

    There is ZERO chance of any society intentionally attempting ‘degrowth’ for any reason at all.

    Never happened, never will.

    A cancer is a cancer is a cancer.

    The humans are a once in a planet’s cancer.

  6. makati1 on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 4:45 pm 

    Peaky, I just reread the “Ringworld” series for the 3rd time. Always a good read and I pick up stuff I missed before.

    Are there any good SF authors today? I don’t think so. Most is fluff for kids.

    My library is: Asimov, Heinlein, Niven, Herbert, Clark, etc.. All pre 2100. Some of my library is over 60 years old and getting brown. Sigh!

  7. peakyeast on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 4:55 pm 

    Have you tried David Brin Uplift war or startide rising or perhaps Enders game (book 2 is rather nice)?

  8. makati1 on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 4:57 pm 

    Amerikans are in “Contraction” mode now. “De-growth” is a misleading word, and is, in my mind, stupid misdirection for the dumbed down non thinkers.

    Most of the world, outside of the West, will still grow, but the “reset” has crippled, or killed, real growth in the 1st world. A good thing. The Great Leveling.

    Numbers can say anything, and the attempted economic/financial coverup will be outrageous, as contraction continues to take down the 1st world’s living standards. $5+ gas? Bring it on!

  9. peakyeast on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 4:58 pm 

    Dan Simmons hyperion is also nice – even though the last book is the best perhaps.

  10. makati1 on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 5:09 pm 

    Peaky, thanks for the suggestion. I will check into that author. I have the Ender series, and agree, but it kinda loses something in the last books of the series, as he tries to tie up all the loose ends, I think.

    I have to buy SF books on line as the book stores here do not carry many of the older authors or much SF. Even Amazon takes weeks and shipping costs more than the book.

    If you want a diversion and like mysteries, I would recommend the Ancient Egypt series by Paul Doherty. 1500BC, when Egypt was the most richest country.

  11. IfYouAreBoredThisMightEntertainYoui on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 6:45 pm 

    Some of you, may like to entertain yourself with various reading.

    Or maybe this kind of reading might entertain you.

  12. SatanistAreFuckingWithUs on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 10:30 pm 

    Now the music industries is shoveling into people faces video with direct satanists messages. It is to get us, the regulator people, accustomed to the presence of satanist philosophies or if you prefer the presence of constant pain either mentally or physicaly.

    If you are old enough you can see the difference from let say pink Floyd or Bob Seger music versus this kind of music.

    Compare this (turn the translation)

    with this

    The message is: the world does not belong to you (replace to you with regular people like me and you) it belongs to me (me being the devil, think of adrenochrome harvesting). It is right into your face and they are not shy about it.

  13. SatanistAreLaughingAtUs on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 10:50 pm 

    Satanist training young gullible people into things like pedophilia and satanist bloody ritual. They are so bold now, it is amazing. Direct reference to kids and bloody ritual right into people faces.

  14. SatanistAreLaughingAtUs on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 10:57 pm 


    Adrenalize = adrenochrome.

    Nobody should harm or torture the little ones.

  15. SatanistAreLaughingAtUs on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 11:05 pm 

    You people want more example, She is having a show 5 mai. YouTube is a tool that stanist are using. This is why they censore conservatives point of view but let stantist expresse themeslef wide and freely.

    If you want to seen more satanists videos. Here is how I do it. Close your browser, clear your cache and log out. You don’t need a YouTube account for that. Look at a couple of videos I put above and YouTube will suggest to you more and more satanist garbage.

  16. SatanistAreLaughingAtUs on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 11:27 pm 

    You can see this guy’s thought process:

    1. Pulls back the hammer (I should have my head examined for doing this).

    2. Takes wide stance (Ah, hell, let’s give it a shot).

    3. Shakes head (I should have my head examined for doing this).

    4. Pulls trigger (What the f*$%!!!).

    5. Staggers backwards (I lived! I lived!).

    6. Checks his own body for damage (Yep, balls still there… although retracted).

    This is the kind of gun we need to shut down stanists.

  17. Dooma on Wed, 24th Mar 2021 11:35 pm 

    Please get back on your meds?

  18. SatanistAreLaughingAtUs on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 12:15 am 

    In This Moment – Fly Like An Eagle + River Of Fire + Adrenalize Rock USA 2019

    Adrenalize = Adernochrome

    All of these symbols on stage are satanists symbols. From what I read, they are strong on using symbols, colors and other stuff that us regular people consider meaningless but for the satanist it has meaning.

    Some of them have eaten some much babies flesh, think of Merkel and Hilary Clinton. That they have disease called Kuru. It is caused by eating too much babies brains.

    Kuru is exceptionally rare. It’s only contracted by ingesting infected brain tissue or coming into contact with sores infected with kuru prions. Governments and societies sought to prevent the disease in the mid-20th century by discouraging the social practice of cannibalism. According to NINDS, the disease has almost completely vanished.

    I have absolutely no fucking live and I am loser for writing these shitty comments

  19. SatanistAreLaughingAtUs on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 12:37 am 

    Trump telling the pope, we have all the dirt on you and you will be executed with your cardinals for crime against humanity. The roman empire transform itself into the catholic chuck and the Vatican. All of this is on the web, nothing is hidden from you.

    Jump to 1:13 to see what I mean

  20. IAmMentallyInsaneAndILoveIt on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 12:55 am 

    Now you see a guy like me going mentally insane. I made the mistake to lift my 90 lbs snow blower on my work bench by hand to remove the gas from the carburetor for summer storage. No I have pain everywhere because I dare to do things that I like. More thinks that are on the web for everyone to see but you are too stupid or lazy to investigate yourself.

    Trump breaks royal etiquette, walks in front of Queen

    This is Trump visit to announce to the Queen and the royal family that they know everything about their crime against humanities like eating babies, drinking babies bloods (adrenochrome), the Rothschild family controlling the money supply to the US and so on. This Trump saying to the Queen and England: you will pay for this.

    I support him and I think they should for pay this . They should be tortured until death. But this is just how I would do it if I was a powerfully man.

    Don’t worry I am going mentally insane and everything I wrote above is false. We should love and worship the royal familly and England, the pope.

  21. Theedrich on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 1:34 am 

    U.S. elites caring about human pain? What a joke. The Yankee empire has murdered millions in direct and indirect ways in order to maintain its now disintegrating supremacy.  Growth is good for the Pentagonians, the oligarchic godzillas, and the paludal reptiles of D.C. along with their accomplices in vassal states.  War (including nuking civilian populations), false-flag operations, massacres by drone, mass starvation by “sanctions,” clandestine CIA murders, creation of revolutions (“color” and otherwise) using NGOs paid for by American tax dollars, support of killer regimes (think KSA), and other methods are the way the City on the Hill has maintained its blood-soaked dominance.  All supported by “growth.”

    Growth is the American way of killing Gaia.  But as a human can support only so much obesity, drugs and alcohol, so the planet can tolerate only so much American-style “democratic” growth.

    Trees do not grow into the sky.

  22. IAgreeWithYouGook on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 10:26 am 

    I fully support that. I agree with you China. Now we are going somewhere. Peak oil means the end of maritime container shipping. Every continent for it self. I support limited trade between continental blocks

    “It’s time for the U.S. to give up its wishful thinking of changing China or stopping the
    1.4 billion Chinese people’s historical march toward modernisation.” – Wang Yi.

    I want to know China. How your production of adrenochrome is doing. Still torturing young children and selling adrenochrome on the international market. Just asking stupid small gook

  23. ChinaIsTryingToTakeOverTheWorld on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 10:39 am 

    Is China still trying to take over the world using COVID, WHO (World Health Organization), WEF (that I like to called world economical garbage). China is good friend with the Klauss Schwab of the world garbage forum. Just asking question, stupid small, ugly gooks. I should have said China and richs industrialist from Europe and England are trying to take over the world.

    Do you really think China is in postilion to make any demands. We reach peak oil. It is a completey different game, stupid gook.

  24. IBelieveEverythingYouSayChina on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 10:46 am 

    Beijing: China provided highest degree of support for WHO report

    Of course you did gook. No way China and rich Europeans and England industrialists are trying to take over the world using COVID. No way this could ever happen.

    China is good friend with the Klauss Schwab of the world garbage forum. Just asking question, stupid small, ugly gooks. I should have said China and richs industrialist from Europe and England are trying to take over the world.

    Do you really think China is in postilion to make any demands. We reach peak oil. It is a completey different game, stupid gook.

  25. AreYouSureChinaYouUnderstandWhatIsGoingOnNow on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 10:50 am 

    You seems sure that China can speak from a position of authority and make demands. Are you sure of that.

    Is stirring up ethnic conflicts in China long on the U.S. agenda?

  26. JustAskingUglyGook on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 11:14 am 

    Look people, China is trying to lecture the US and Canada about native geneoice:

    What about China using Uighur kids to produce adrenochrome and sell the product on alibaba. Just asking ugly gook.

  27. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 12:18 pm 

    Losing to China

    “Bill warns Americans that while they’re busy obsessing over silly culture wars, China is overtaking them on the world stage.”

    Is? More like has & not just China. Even tiny countries like Estonia have blown past the US in many meaningful metrics.

    USA = from first to worst in less than 2 generations…..and yet they still won’t shut up bahaha.

    USA = China’s bitch. Can’t really do a country to country comparison since the US is not a real country.

  28. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 12:44 pm 

    Opinion: The NBA is only the latest Chinese government hostage

    Over 16 months later, NBA is still exiled from much of China’s vast TV market

    Hey, fat round eye – our way or highway.

  29. Biden's hairplug on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 12:59 pm 

    When a US empire and deep state stakeholder like Billy Boy Maher throws the towel in the ring, you know for a fact it is game over.

    Actually, The Tribe has thrown the towel in the ring in 2017, after the election of Donnie:

    “The good news, ZOG is dying”

    Paul Krugman has the same credentials/weight as Maher.

    Here, the real unelected president of the US, Richard Haass and chairman of the CFR, as well as his CFR sidekick Charles Kupchan, both jews of course:

    The international system is at a historical inflection point. As Asia continues its economic ascent, two centuries of Western domination of the world, first under Pax Britannica and then under Pax Americana, are coming to an end.

    There are now so many kosher towels in the ring that we could start a hotel in Tel Aviv with it.

    Haass is now saying what Kupchan already had observed in 2003 (and I ordered that book and read it immediately):

    “The End of the American Era: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-first Century”

    You should know by now, who I think will run away with the loot from empire: Greater Europe and China. We’ll have a Pax Eurasia coming up:

    “What Comes After the Three Anglo Empires?”

    The only question is: how much bloodshed will come with the immanent evaporation of empire?

    I like Richard Haas, he is blunt as a Dutchman:

    Brexit will create a “Little England” in two ways: the country will have less power and influence in the world, and it will likely break up as Northern Ireland votes to join the Republic and Scotland opts for independence—both in order to remain in Europe

    It’s a pity that these smart jews could not restrain themselves, they could have been a nice asset for European Civilization, but they had to make themselves impossible with WW2, holotale, diversity, JFK-hit, 9/11… it’s too much really. Go pick apples in a Kibbutz in Upstate New York.

  30. Biden's hairplug on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 1:12 pm 

    US sanctions are sabotaged in Europe. Small Dutch and Italian firms have delivered to Russia the required equipment to finish Nord Stream 2:

    “Nord Stream 2: Russlands Tricks gegen US-Sanktionen”

    The Russians now have all they need. Expect the pipeline to be completed by September. There will probably some lame compromise, like a token new terminal for gas from North-America.

  31. IFuckTheCabalInTheAss on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 1:50 pm 

    She is a deep fake. More and more of these as members of the cabal are being executed for crime against humanity (adrenochrome). We see more of these deep fake coming from Canada, US and Europe. you need a high resolution display.

    Jump 12:09

    Yes Aliens exists and are already on earth hiding in DUMB

  32. SomeMoreDeepFake on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 3:00 pm 

    Another deep fake video from brazil. We see deep fake more and more

  33. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 25th Mar 2021 8:12 pm 

    #193. Nothing for money

    Posted on March 24, 2021


    Those of us who understand the economy as an energy system have long known that an event far larger than the global financial crisis (GFC) is inescapable. Indeed, ‘GFC II’ was hard-wired into the system from the moment when the authorities decided to prevent market forces working through to their logical conclusions.

    If markets had been left to their own devices back in 2008-09, what would – and arguably should – have happened was that those who had taken on excessive risk would have paid the price in widespread defaults, whilst asset prices would have corrected back to levels preceding the debt binge which had started a decade before the GFC.

    It’s ironic that we hear so much talk of “re-set” nowadays, even though the only real opportunity for resetting the financial system came – and went – more than ten years ago. Promises of a post-pandemic reset are proof – if proof were needed – that ‘hype springs eternal’.

    Great reset = Limits to Growth punched you in the face.

    Klaus & Co’s Great Reset is just another crisis cult. A deluded old man’s fantasy to save the world in his worldview’s image.

    Build back better? Many nations can’t even fill their pot holes & maintain many of their bridges stability. Same for most other infrastructure.

    Economic Growth is over, but profits are still aplenty………. for the elites.

    Disaster Capitalism [SSDD] Same Shit Different Disaster.

    Disaster Capitalism & Catabolic Capitalism, joined at the hip until total collapse.

    They will never stop. Like junkies they know their parasitic criminal actions are destructive to society & themselves, but their evolutionary programming for status, wealth, security & survival for themselves & their spawn trumps all else.

    Biden’s Inner Circle Maintains Close Ties to Vaccine Makers, Disclosures Reveal

    As concerns grow about a global “vaccine apartheid,” watchdogs worry that the Biden administration is primed to favor profits over people.

    “Many leading figures in Biden’s administration, including key White House advisers, State Department leaders, and health care officials have financial stake in or professional ties to vaccine manufacturers, which are now lobbying to prevent policies that would cut into future profits over the vaccine.

    ASG in particular has unusual amounts of sway in the Biden administration. State Department officials Victoria Nuland, Wendy Sherman, Uzra Zeya, and Molly Montgomery previously worked at ASG, as did Philip Gordon, Vice President Kamala Harris’s national security adviser.

    But several others in Biden’s inner circle also have potential conflicts of interest:”

    Cry libtard all night, but I can give just as many examples of parasitic criminal tribe right elites feeding off the dying nation.

    They see the world, their country & it’s slave citizens (you) as nothing but a Milkshake.

  34. Biden's hairplug on Fri, 26th Mar 2021 4:53 am 

    Positive side-effects of Corona for the average Dutch citizen:

    Real income increased with 2.4% in 2020.
    Savings private households increased from 17% to 25%, since nobody went on holidays, visited restaurants or shops (minus online buying). Dutch were already world champs in saving before Corona.

    Furthermore, everybody got used to working remote/online, there were hardly any traffic jams as a result.

    For the environment, 2020 was a good year. For white nationalists too, because globalism was put in the reverse gear.

  35. Biden's hairplug on Fri, 26th Mar 2021 5:21 am 

    The LSE revealed yesterday that most jabs set in the UK were produced in the EU:

    Yet the British tabloids reverted to unrestricted anti-European hatred:

    “RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: We are the Self-Vaccination Society… so let’s grab The Italian Jab!”

    Read the vitriolic reader comments by the little Englanders. Now is the time and opportunity to take revenge for WW1 and WW2 and take the country apart, now that England is making a little too many enemies…

    …and the US deep state has US declared defeat and China the winner:

    …and Nicola Sturgeon survived the assault by that Salmond ass grabber idiot.

    My favorite US deep state jew Richard Haass has it right concerning Brexit-Britain:

    England was behind the “Germania delenda est” press campaign in 1891, intentionally leading to WW1. As a result they lost their empire and Europe was enslaved by the US and USSR. Now it is “EU delenda est”. This time they are going to lose their country, as well their self-serving Versailles-Nuremberg tales.

    England 2030 = Cuba, without the sun.

    Brexit Britain is the Black Night against EU-Arthur:

    Declaring victory while losing limb after limb.

  36. Biden's hairplug on Fri, 26th Mar 2021 6:52 am 

    Never waste a good crisis, time to finish off the West and break it up:

    “‘Worrying trend’: London seeks to exclude Moscow from European security system while it cozies up to America, says Russian envoy”

    Let them cozy up, now that Britain (England rather) is burning all the European bridges behind them and become the 51st woke state of the US.

    Brexit was a vote against Europe and for America. It was a vote for globalism. It was a vote for anti-whiteness, it was a vote for low standards, it was a vote for racial Marxism. It was a vote for business over identity.

    In the past, Britain wanted to be part of the European Common Market, as long as America was towering above it all, but that’s no longer the case. America is withdrawing from hegemony and England wants to withdraw with it. Let them. The more EU-UK hostility, the better. This Covid vaccine stunt is a nice overture.

    Time for a new Iron Curtain in the French Channel in order to shield Europe off from wokeness and turn to Eurasia. And piss on the Versailles-Nuremberg-holo tales.

    Make no mistake, the US deep state is clearly distancing itself from planetary hegemony, but they are NOT distancing themselves from racial Marxism. White America is f* anyway, until they grow a pair.

    The only way that white America can be saved, is through an uprising. And not this half-baked stunt in the Capitol, but a real uprising, like in Yugoslavia or Donbass. Only then can continental Europe come to the aid, first with weapons, than with troops to finish it off “1776-style”.

    England (and offshoots AUS-NZ-CAN) is hopeless anyway, no serious identitarianism is to be expected from them. For them, being anti-European is second nature. Incurable.

  37. Cloggie on Thu, 1st Apr 2021 5:19 am 

    Automation to take over agriculture:

    “Sparter the Robot to Replace Missing Eastern Europeans”

    1 machine replaces 70 Eastern Europeans.

    What do you mean, “stalling growth?”

    Agriculture is hard work, fairly simple and repetitive and hence an excellent candidate of labor that can be automated.

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