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Money as Debt is unsustainable in a world of finite resources.

I know I'm entering a hornet's nest here, but this argument has always bothered me. First, I guess that with "Money as Debt" you mean that our current system needs growth. Loans are taken and must be repayed with interest, which requires growth, or the whole thing falls down. And yes, the world is a finite place.

But you can have different kinds of growth. Extensive growth means exploiting new resources. This cannot be done endlessly in a finite world and will eventually have to come to a stop. Second, you can have intensive growth. which means doing things in smarter and more efficient ways. Examples here might be better ways or organising production, making more of a product with the same input (or the same amount of product with a smaller input) through the use of better technology, or the discovery of an entirely new resource, earlier thought useless, that can be utilised (think uranium in the 20th century).

So, eventually we will reach the end of extensive growth, and possibly even reach the end of intensive growth, if we can't keep innovating fast enough. Growth will then have been shown to be unsustainable. But no one has any idea when this will happen, if it indeed will, so until then we might as we'll sustain our growth, which has made and is making the lives of humanity so extremely much better.

If or when we reach the end of growth and is seems it no longer can be sustained, well, then we'll deal with it. For now, making the system better is a far better idea than changing it fundamentally. Reform rather than revolution.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Jan 26th, 2008 at 07:00:32 AM EST
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