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Comment: Yes, the money…

GDP has become the target of positive development. Few talk about growth having an ecological limit.


This is a contribution to the "Engaged utterance" column in Ny Tid 05.11.2010. In the column come various idealistic organizations are speaking. The participants are: ATTAC Norway, Nature and Youth, African Youth, Skeiv Ungdom, Changemaker, One World, The Future in Our Hands, Bellona, ​​the Joint Council for Africa, the Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation, MSF.

c3072b; ”> style = ”color: Green ”> c8421b;”> Green economy. All three columns on Aftenposten's opinion-bearing page 2 in the Culture section on 22 September were about money. "Developing countries must take greater financial responsibility," said the leader, who alluded to the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals. "3000 billion" was the headline in the sub-manager, who gave well-deserved praise to the management of the Petroleum Fund. The comment column at the bottom trumpeted: "Wall Street – it finally became cool to like money" and dealt with a current cinema film. All about money. All about economics. Random? Hardly!

Money is ubiquitous. The economic gaps are increasing in importance, and pension savings are on everyone's lips. And up here in the north we are doing well. But at the same time, the world lives in a strange vacuum just one month before the climate summit in Cancun. There is little debate about the new orientation of the economy we need to become a CO2neutral society. Why is the term "green economy" absent in the word change?

The growth in the money supply around us is fascinating. Figures from the Oil Fund show that at least four managers during 2010 will receive more than NOK 100 million in fees. A fifth has received 500 millions: Absolutely justifiable, says Yngve Slyngstad, the fund's manager.

The money is growing in new products and investments, and in the next five years Norway will invest NOK 720 billion on the Norwegian continental shelf in what will be the largest investment area for international oil companies. But economists and politicians act as if the economy were an independent size, regardless of time and space. That's not it. The economy is part of a larger cycle. It cannot repeal thermodynamic laws. Biophysics cannot impress young, tough brokers and fund managers. Waste and pollution, limited resources and certain saturation points in the composition of atmospheric gases affect the climate and our living conditions.

New ideas must be released, and new alliances must be forged, not least between the trade union movement, forward-looking industrial companies and the development and environmental movement. Since Rachel Carson published the book SilentSpring In 1962, more and more people have become aware of the challenges facing the global public. Today, it is increasingly accepted that the facility on the growing economy is pushing ecological boundaries.

The ecological costs of production and trade are not reflected in the price of goods and services today. The current economic paradigm is based on the fact that traditional growth itself should solve the problems.

Many good measures have been put in place, including energy economics, and more can be done, even within an existing economic paradigm. But given the ecological boundaries, no more efficient use of natural resources would be sufficient measures on a planet that in 2050 will have nine billion inhabitants. Structural measures in the economy are needed – in production, trade and consumption. There is also a need for clear information on what it means to invest in green jobs, green infrastructure and green businesses – and what it costs to keep the old model.

Everything that happens today is calculated into the concept of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is used as a positive target for development. This is misleading. The truth is that much of today's growth is uneconomical growth, if we include costs. And we must. How else can we achieve development and distribution?

A new social-ecological reality is the goal. Not money in itself.

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