How to create a stable society

On the dust cover of *The Constant Economy, Jonathon Porritt asserts that Business-as–Usual economics, which is denying billions any chance of a decent life, has become a security blanket that our politicians won’t let go. 

The author, now a Conservative MP, calls for decisions about the sort of economy we want to develop from the ashes of this recession: 

“There is an alternative: a constant economy. A constant economy is one in which resources are valued not wasted, where food is grown sustainably and goods are built to last. It is a system whose energy security is based on the use of renewable sources, and where strong communities are valued as a country’s most effective hedge against social, economic and environmental instability. The constant economy operates at the human scale and, above all, it recognises nature’s limits.” 

Ten steps [chapters] measure what matters: power to the people, the precautionary principle, food quality, food security, saving our seas, an energy revolution, getting around, building to last, a zero-waste economy and playing our part. 

Invest in the new green economy . . . 

In Green New Deal mode, he says that instead of struggling to return to the conditions that delivered the recession, we can stimulate the development of a cleaner, greener and less wasteful economy. 

With the right encouragements, whole sectors could flip. UK pension funds control about £860 billion. Imagine the impact if they chose to invest it in the new green economy? 

Government signals 

Critics of the environmental agenda claim that a green economy would cost hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of pounds – but they are confusing cost with investment. One hundred units invested in improving the energy efficiency of a local school, and saving twenty units each year thereafter, represents a hugely rewarding investment opportunity. And there is no need for net tax increases to pay for this – it simply requires bullish signals from government. 

If a proper cost is attached to pollution and waste, businesses will minimize both. And if the funds raised from taxing these activities are used as incentives, there will be a dramatic movement of money towards the kinds of investments and activities we need.

Today’s challenge 

In 1945 the disaster of war created new priorities and a pioneering welfare state was built; today the impending ecological disaster poses another challenge, but the country needs leadership from its politicians, who will not provide it unless we – the electorate – send them a clear message. 

Jonathon urges: “so try it guys!” 

The Green New Dealers and those working towards a coalition for a better economy intend to do just that!” 

 

 

*The Constant Economy: how to create a stable society, Zac Goldsmith, Atlantic Books 2009 – see http://www.constanteconomy.com/

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