Monday, March 9, 2009

What's So Great About Growth?

Finally. People are starting to ask, "What's so great about growth, anyway?"

I've studied economics a little bit, enough to know that GDP and the capital markets depend on growth to stay viable. The textbooks and articles I've read speak in dry tones of why growth is both good and to be expected. It's a point of view that leads to problems like the housing bubble--and we've all seen the mess that unbridled real estate development has created.

But now, as the world's economy and ecology face a crisis of massive proportions, we're all wondering about ways to sustain ourselves and future generations without creating and consuming products that destroy the environment. (And on that topic, why do celebrity magazines and Web sites obsess over celebrity babies, who will grow up to buy too many mansions and cars and use up tons of jet fuel, like their parents before them?)

Check out Thomas L. Friedman's latest column in The New York Times: The Inflection Is Near?

Friday, March 6, 2009

To Be Poor

Thought for today, when the U.S. Labor Department reported the nation's joblessness rate at 8.1%, its highest point in 25 years:

To be poor, sadly, is still to be without a voice and without power.... The very phrase, "the poor," lumps together and depersonalizes billions of individuals with different unique stories and voices which are seldom heard, because the rich and powerful shout more loudly. It can be tempting for those attracted by Franciscan simplicity to rhapsodize about the ennobling properties of poverty. This is dangerously patronizing. -- Rowan Clare Williams