Wednesday, October 06, 2010

humans can no longer afford to pursue an econonomic model based on competition and growth

Independent | Obsession with economic growth and the greed of financial speculators are destroying efforts to conserve the world's diminishing resources.

British and French speakers from radically different backgrounds, and with sharply contrasting styles, found themselves singing an unlikely political duet at the Lyon environment forum. Big business, they said, must be stopped from "asset stripping" a failing planet.

Andrews Simms, the policy director of the New Economics Foundation, said the "oil-fired" obsession with growth amounted to "treating the biosphere like a business in liquidation".

Eva Joly, a former French investigating magistrate who once specialised in uncovering corruption in big business, accused hedge funds and off-shore financial havens of encouraging "destructive speculation in hard-pressed resources" including oil, water and land.

The flamboyant Mr Simms amused a mostly French audience at the Lyon Sustainable Planet Forum by illustrating his talk with lurid metaphors.

"A hamster doubles in size each week until about six weeks old, then slows," he said. "If it didn't, on its first birthday you would be facing a nine billion tonne hamster that could eat in a day all the corn produced in the world in a year."

So much, he suggested, for the argument that economic growth, consuming ever larger amounts of finite resources, was the "natural" condition of humanity.