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Entries in Herman Daly (3)


Eight Stimuli for New Thinking Ecologically

It seemed that every hour I heard something new at the conference entitled, “Seizing an Alternative,” held June 4-7, in Claremont, CA. So many people there seeking ecological living. The main answer to “Why?” this conference went like this. We know we need different policies; but policy-makers aren’t currently acting for Earth’s inhabitable future. Science has been speaking out prophetically in recent years; but too few institutions are moving at the rate science urges. The causes of the crises are accelerating, not diminishing. So the conference said: We need to change our thinking.

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Give That Book Club 5 Stars

Here’s a sampling of what moved along the conversation at the book club I was invited to last week. I loved responding to all the topics, and loved hearing their thoughts too. How would you respond to the following questions and comments? Are you a capitalist or a socialist? What does a OneEarth economy actually look like? Is anyone doing it? Give some examples. How can we bring population under control and into balance with other species? Opposing control of offspring, by religion or politics, just doesn’t fit with today’s reality. Can we really have economies with strength if they are not growing? How?

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Deepest Energies, Not Abstract Reasoning, Will Change Our Economy

One of my economic “textbooks” for a One Earth economy is, For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future. Written over twenty years ago (1989) its authors, Herman Daly, an economist formerly with the World Bank, and John Cobb, a theologian who taught many years at Claremont School of Theology, were early voices urging deep, systemic economic changes. But, they said, such structural redirection of the economy requires the inherent interplay between economics and spirituality. One of their statements in particular has stayed with me: 

The changes that are now needed in society are at a level that stirs religious passions. The debate will be a religious one whether that is made explicitly of not. The whole understanding of reality and the orientation to it are at stake. We think that, to treat the issues as if they could be settled by abstract reason, is misleading. The victory will go to those who can draw forth these deepest energies of the centered self and give them shape and direction. Getting there, if it happens at all, will be a religious event, just as getting to where we are now was a religious event. Idolatry in the guise of misplaced concreteness and disciplinolatry have brought us to the present crisis. Overcoming these is a religious task (p. 381).

Their word “disciplinolatry” refers to the effort among many economists to turn economics into a hard science in order to elevate its authority. Daly and Cobb see that as idolatry.