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« What is sapience? | Main | Speaking of politicians and wisdom... »

January 26, 2008


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The model for treating addiction that I'm familiar with is to get the addict to substitute some behavior for the one being given up. In the case of the economy, we could build wind and solar generators instead of importing oil, light electric rail instead of gas power cars, etc. -- these kinds of changes might have the knock-on effect of putting more people into productive work.

George Mobus

Well I agree in principle. And we should certainly do all that we can to minimize our use of fossil fuels. But I have serious doubts about the ability for alternative energy sources to supply a serious fraction of our current energy needs let alone fuel growth of the economy.

The addiction I refer to is more to the growth of consumption of unnecessary stuff. Our economy is now based on consumption, money churn, and debt. It is the economy that is addicted. People are the pushers who think they benefit from the addiction. And they, of course, are addicted to the appearance of wealth accumulation.

Who are the medical interventionists? Who will provide those alternatives to bring the patient down? That is what I would like to know.


Toby Kelsey

You probably know this, but Herman Daly has developed the theoretical basis for a more rational economics. Google "uneconomic growth" and "steady state economy" to learn more.

George Mobus


Yes, I am aware of Daly. He and Robert Costanza, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Kenneth Boulding, and H.T. Odum are among my intellectual heros!
Wikipedia has a page on cological economics (at: ) that gives a good background on the subject.



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