Premises for a New Economy*
This article draws upon a consensus statement of 18 leading sustainability professionals to argue that given the uncertainty about how tightly ecology constrains planetary growth, prudence dictates a conservative approach, in which both the Global North and the Global South consider new obligations and limits. A basic commitment to social justice requires that the claims of the poor, chiefly residing in the South, take precedence over the claims of the rich, chiefly residing in the North. The North may have to accept an actual reduction in conventional measures of standard of living to create ecological space for Southern growth. However, since the scope for further growth to contribute to well-being in affluent regions is quite limited, the costs to the North of reducing growth may be modest – especially if a new economy is organized to provide the economic basis of a good life based on precepts other than more, more, and still more. While recognizing a priority for the poor imposes obligations on the North, this recognition cannot be a license for the South to replicate the wasteful disregard for ecosystem boundaries that has characterized growth in the North. Nor ought the South to countenance the wanton disregard for the claims of the disadvantaged that has allowed large islands of Northern poverty to continue to exist in oceans of Northern wealth.
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Volume (Year): 56 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
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