Fears of species extinction at the Labour party conference have been uncommonly domestic in Brighton. Concern for the future of the nocturnal Aye-Aye, the exotic White Rhino or the fate of the climate, have all come a distant second to the survival of the party itself.
But what lies behind his relatively fruitless search this year goes a long way to explain the government\’s own malaise and that of the environment more broadly.
Quite, people respond to incentives. Politicians respond to hte incentives that will get them (re) elected. Which is why you\’ll get entirely cock all out of politicians on anything other than a before the next election basis.
In the last few months, however, a succession of great and good outside the party have begun to mention just this. From the Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and the UK\’s own Lord Stern to Lord Turner of the Financial Services Authority and formerly the UK climate change committee, the environmentally destructive doctrine of indefinite economic growth is finally being mentioned.
Ah, that\’s how you\’re spinning it is it? Stiglitz et al did not say that we shouldn\’t have infinite economic growth. Only that we should account for the environment as well, plus measure the real standard of living rather than just the cash one.
Buried in their report is in fact something which entirely destroys your basic worldview: they insist that we should measure the work/life balance by how much leisure we have, not by how little work we do in the market economy. You and the nef are insisting that we should all do more work outside the market economy, less inside it, for a reduction in total leisure hours.
Ie, Stiglitz et al show that your plans will make us all poorer, by those very measures which you praise above.