“New” economics in America

In: Uncategorized

23 Feb 2010

America’s EF Schumacher Society is transforming itself into the New Economics Institute. The name change seems to at least partly reflect a closer link with Britain’s New Economics Foundation (NEF). Stewart Wallis, the executive director of the NEF, is on the board of the new organisation. Among those involved in the new organisation are Gar Alperovitz (professor at University of Maryland), Bill McKibben (veteran environmental campaigner) and Gus Speth (professor at Yale).

Speth recently gave a lecture in Washington DC on “a new American environmentalism and the new economy”. The main thrust of his argument is that: “we see that the new economy – the prime objective of the new environmentalism – must be about more than green. We need a broader, more inclusive framing of our goal. We need to answer the probing question posed by John de Graaf in his new film: What’s the economy for anyhow? The answer, I believe, is that we should be building what I would call a “sustaining economy” – one that gives top, over-riding priority to sustaining both human and natural communities. It must be an economy where the purpose is to sustain people and the planet, where social justice and cohesion are prized, and where human communities, nature, and democracy all flourish. Its watchword is caring – caring for each other, for the natural world, and for the future. Promoting the transition to such an economy is in fact the mission of the New Economy Network, which I’m now working with many others to build. It will be a broad, welcoming space for all those pursuing diverse paths to these goals.”

Essentially he is giving what I call growth scepticism – with its emphasis on environmental, moral and social limits – a positive spin.

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