Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
There are two ways of "knowing" the Limits to Growth thesis.

One is working through the series of books, and the critiques, working out whether the strength of the critiques is analytical or rhetorical/political, coming to the conclusion that we are approaching a massive crash unless we engineer a downsizing (Japan) through to massive downsizing (US) of the ecological footprint per person of each of the high income nations.

The other is reacting to the real world situation as portrayed in the book as it occurs. Since, after all, if the book is accurate about the rough shape of possibilities that face us, even people who "know" that the LTG thesis is hogwash also have to cope with the reality that the LTG analysis portrays.

I believe it is more the second kind of knowing, and the seeming commonality of action is the result of the intersection of the channels for actions laid out in existing social regimes, and the playing out of the early stages of the Limits to (Material) Growth scenarios that we are in because all of the dominant channels of the regime that we have been in point toward rejection of the LTG thesis.

That is, does Bernanke manage decline because under the LTG thesis, managing decline is the way to preserve the status of the tribe of mainstream economists? No, he manages decline because the profound learned incompetence required to be a top flight mainstream economist renders it impossible to  see the existing opportunities for managing success, and he is choosing from a set of possible actions each of which is a variety of managed decline.

That is the point of contact that I know best: I know with a lot of direct personal experience and repeated observation that mainstream economics is totally blind to being able to understand that the Limits to Growth thesis is correct. Mainstream economics does not have a syntax and grammer in which the Limits to Growth thesis can be coherently stated. And so every time they state the LTG thesis in the language of mainstream economics, they end up with a non-viable simulcra with enough surface similarity to pretend that rejecting the simulcra is rejecting the actual thesis.

Even the best of the mainstream economists, people like Dean Baker, when faced with an 8% Demand Deficit, can look around the landscape of an economy consuming 1/4 of the world's oil production while only producing 1/10 of it, with roughly 1/6 of the world's oil production to run our transport system alone ~ and not find anything for the US Government to spend a big chunk of 8% of US GDP on.

And while I don't have an inside baseball knowledge of the Obama administration, the administration strikes me as a "best and brightest" Harvard and Yale and Stanford type of administration, and that implies an equal degree of trained blindness throughout the administration. The "deer in the headlights" look is the problem that opportunities for success lie outside the field of vision of those presumed in terms of status to be the "best and brightest", so peering ahead shows only different ways of failing as far as the nearsighted navigators can see.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 03:05:24 PM EST

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series