The presidential candidates continue to ask the wrong questions and thus arrive at irrelevant answers. Their questions revolve around the goal of getting the economy to grow faster. But what would be the eventual end result of achieving this goal?
Endless economic growth means accelerating the process of turning finite resources into products, which must then be consumed at an accelerating pace and ultimately turned into waste. This is how our market economy works. But, as economist Herman Daly has pointed out, viewing economic activity as a circular flow of production and consumption is like seeing an animal as nothing more than a circulatory system, ignoring the fact that it has a digestive tract that connects it to its environment at both ends.
Our corporate system treats natural capital assets as if they were expenses and treats waste as if it had little impact on the earth. This is insanity, and we are in part to blame for not demanding greater depth and a long-term perspective from our elected leaders.
Are our politicians completely blind to inevitable eventualities? Are they incapable of revolutionary systemic thinking? Apparently so. Otherwise, they would stop reciting tired ideas that have already proved inadequate.
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