patrick dowling speaks steady state economy

Submitted by ConsciousBabe on Wed, 2012-03-07 19:51

Meeting with Patrick Dowling, family friend and WESSA environmental educator, we discuss a more perfect world and a positive way out of our current economic and environmental dysfunction...

Patrick Dowling (pictured here doing some planting) believes that a Steady State Economy is now the way to goPatrick Dowling (pictured here doing some planting) believes that a Steady State Economy is now the way to go

Ok so we get that we are stuffed - with the economy doing a double dive and the planet protesting years of misuse - so now what? If economists have been questioning the idea of perpetual growth for centuries, how have we allowed ourselves to walk headlong into this mess? Surely this is a good a sign as any that we must make changes to our system, but the real question is, how?

Patrick believes that a Steady State System could just be the answer to our current situation.

'There is a finite amount of resources like land, fresh water and oxygen on the planet,' says Patrick. 'Where our current economy is based on greed and growth, a 'steady state economy' would take into accounts those natural limits.'

This kind of system is not characterised by growth but rather is about using resources responsibly, noticing when they are reaching their maximum point and decreasing the pressure if this is the case. Although a steady state system would allow for certain elements of capitalism - for example individuality and profits - it would work to keep any signs of greed and corruption in check. There would be much emphasis on the rehabilitation of depleted systems so that those future generations may again benefit from them.

This diagram shows how a Steady State Economy would workThis diagram shows how a Steady State Economy would work

Patrick points out that if our current economic system can generate money as if by magic based on something as intangible as debt, surely it is possible to conjure up a lot of good and responsible too? Decisions should be made by agreement and wealth loaned for the right reasons.

'We only exist in this economy because a whole lot of people agree with it,' explains Patrick. 'Where does society recognise 'value'? It should be about helping each other out.'

A system of (artificial) scarcity means waiting around for job vacancies when there is much that can be already be done by taking the initiative to actively contribute towards society. Yes we are in a time of transition - which means change will not be immediate - but there are efforts we can make in our everyday lives that can help create a new, better system.

'Volunteer more, barter more and be careful and where you invest your money,' suggests Patrick. He also believes that through joining more organisations, asking more questions and demanding accountability we can set the wheels of change into motion.

Curious about this topic? Check out the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) website by clicking here