Friday, July 24, 2009

In the future the goal for economies won't be 'growth', but simply maintaining levels of economic activity with less and less energy

SHOOT: You can only become more efficient to a point and after that, you have to start scaling down, and see your choices and conveniences evaporate. Naturally, the majority of populations aren't prepared to countenance this reality, nevermind begin the commitments of adapt to a simpler, tougher lifestyle. Not right now.

And so it follows that with less energy, there will likely be less economic activity. There are clever ways to minimise this effect, but with the current lack of creative thinking by economists, bankers and politicians, there is little chance to shift our economy into one that supplies higher social benefit (jobs, quality of life, etc) at lower energy consumption. Ways to do this are to localise economies (reverse globalisation), internalise environmental costs (pay for water use, for pollution, for land value), “de-technologise” (use manual labour and methods more), and others.

Ultimately though, in a world of dwindling oil supply, all the stops will have to be pulled out to achieve even a steady state of economic activity, never mind a growing one. So your challenge is to try and change your life to use less energy but still produce equal social benefit for your family and those around you.

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