Dear God he’s even more stupid than I thought

The book builds up to Hari’s ultimate theory for why we have all these attentional problems: it’s capitalism itself! Our blinkered focus on economic growth, Hari writes, puts us in a rat-race that ruins the workings of our brains. We should abandon the idea of growth, he argues, and aim for what the economic anthropologist Jason Hickel calls a “steady-state economy”.

Yeah, OK, looking around for a guru to lead you through the intricacies of economics, fair enough. But how stupid do you have to be to go pick Hickel?

12 thoughts on “Dear God he’s even more stupid than I thought”

  1. The book builds up to Hari’s ultimate theory for why we have all these attentional problems: it’s capitalism itself!

    “Damn you, capitalism!”, typed the pudgy little journalist on his £1600 MacBook Pro, absentmindedly sipping a £7.50 soy latte.

    We should abandon the idea of growth, he argues, and aim for what the economic anthropologist Jason Hickel calls a “steady-state economy”.

    The progressive enlightenment of telling African peasants and Chinese coolies to fuck off and die because you’ve already got yours.

  2. TBF though, he’s not come to his conclusion via Hickel, has he?

    The page where he gets to “Capitalism Bad, m’kay?” was always gonna be written FIRST, with all preceding and the quotes chosen compiled to lead up to that.

    However, I’m not arguing with the “even more stupid than you thought” bit.

  3. As long as the population increases, you need growth to feed all the new mouths. A steady-state economy means that we’d be starving to death some potion of the population that exceeds the steady-state food production amount.

  4. Assume for the moment that they’re serious about wanting a steady state economy.

    Now, explain how maintaining that has fewer stressing issues than one in which you could all get richer.

  5. ‘The progressive enlightenment of telling African peasants and Chinese coolies to fuck off and die because you’ve already got yours.’

    I’m afraid I’m selfish Steve. What really bothers me is his wanting to tell me to fuck off and die because he’s taking what’s mine as well.

  6. What really puzzles me about this “steady state economy” is that we have already tried it and we know it quite simply does not work. We have tried it from the dawn of human history to about 1850. Then we have really decided that the steady state was rubbish as a global community from about 1950. Apart from a couple of notable holdouts.

  7. “Our blinkered focus on economic growth”, um, sorry but you got that bit wrong. We’re focused on individual freedom – you can focus on growth or stay home with your cat, no bother for me. It does happen, however, when people are free that they pursue better lives which an awful lot seem to decide means becoming materially richer.

  8. Why would you not want to be materially richer? Why would you not want other people to be materially richer? Isn’t the whole point of the environmental movement to invent a reason to be against economic growth? Without that anyone who wants to be poor and wants stay poor just looks like an idiot.

  9. “The progressive enlightenment of telling African peasants and Chinese coolies to fuck off and die because you’ve already got yours.”

    Lest anyone fondly imagine this isn’t what they mean:

    Princeton professor and IPCC lead author Michael Oppenheimer is also keen to stop low-income countries catching up with his own. “We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialisation, we have in the U.S. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are,” he said.

    Imagine the reaction from the Left if Nixon or Bush had said that.

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