April 04, 2009

Global Gasp

Until the wall street inspired credit crunch and resulting global train wreck the global economy was growing on the back of unsustainable demand from western consumers. Quite simply we were spending more than we were earning. At some point the money was going to stop flowing.

Up until the crash we assumed the question was how large a global population is environmentally sustainable? Now we have to ask if the earth's current population is economically sustainable. The consumer frenzy of developed nations has fed a trickle of opportunity to poorer countries who are now facing a dire cessation of demand. What will 1 billion people in India do to earn a living when there are no jobs exported to their shores?

Underpinning this current market debacle is the assumption that growth is good. More consumers, more production, more profits. It's a false economy because the true cost of the goods is rarely paid at the register. Credit spending is the economic equivalent of logging the rainforest. What is the cost to the next generation? Sustainable economics is the key to long term stability of a globalised world, and quite possibly is the flip side of the environmental coin. Unbridled greed for goods is not kind to the planet or its people.

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