Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Yes indeed. The more things change, the more they stay the same... at least so far as 'the economy' is concerned. I don't often listen to the news, preferring to read about it later. But yesterday, American election day, I listened. I listened to President-Elect Obama's speech and - first time for ages - felt there was real hope. Then today, I made the mistake of listening to the news again. It was back to the usual tedium of how to 'grow' the economy using the same old clichés. No mention of climate change, the environment, sutainability or even the Green New Deal. No, it was back to car production, getting the consumer back into the high street, interest rates and blah blah; back to trying to get back to business as usual.
Green opportunity or TNT? Dammit, when will these people ever get it? They are totally stuck in the cramped vertical thinking of what they like to call the 'real world economy'. They're not fools, they're not stupid; just stuck. They can't see any alternative to laissez faire capitalism which has spectacularly failed. Right now, we really have the chance to dump 'business as usual', aka 'Trashing the planet with No Thought of tomorrow' or TNT, an ulimately explosive notion. Yet here, now, we have a global recession and a new American president who takes climate change and renewables seriously. Here, now, we have a chance to restructure, to dump the loony concept of eternal growth and start to build a steady-state sustainable economy which accepted that people and their business depend utterly on the biosphere. It IS the planet, stupid! And the planet is very sick. It needs a big dose of Franklin D Roosevelt and John Maynard Keynes' medicine to make a change actually happen. So will people who are in a position to do something open their minds to the realities of impending biosphere collapse and the notion that there could be viable alternatives to rampant consumerist capitalism? President-Elect Barack Obama could be the catalyst but the pessimist in me says that inertia, denial, greed and fear of change will ensure the TNT approach will win out. I earnestly hope I'm wrong.