* Thomas Pogge, in Dissent, on the spinning of economic growth indicators, and the reality of poverty.
Most of the massive severe poverty persisting in the world today is avoidable through more equitable institutions that would entail minuscule opportunity costs for the affluent. It is for the sake of trivial economic gains that national and global elites are keeping billions of human beings in life-threatening poverty with all its attendant evils such as hunger and communicable diseases, child labor and prostitution, trafficking, and premature death. Considering this situation from a moral standpoint, we must now assess growth—both globally and within most countries—in terms of its effect on the economic position of the poor.* The world's rubbish dump - on the massive plastic "soup" drifting in the Pacific Ocean.
Designing economic institutions and policies by this standard may well entail a sacrifice in aggregate economic growth. But this sacrifice is morally imperative. It is also highly desirable for ecological reasons. To be sure, the consumption expenditure of the poor may be slightly more resource- and pollution-intensive on a per-$ basis. This would detract from the short-term ecological benefits of slowing aggregate growth for the sake of poverty avoidance. The long-term ecological benefit, however, would be massive, as poverty eradication would retard population growth and thus lead to an earlier leveling-off of the human population at a much lower level.
* The Nature of Walls. A nice little essay on walls in Orion Magazine.
What possibilities await if we consider that we are the “other” as we are “us”?* A new website, conceived by a friend, that estimates the carbon footprint of a given conference or meeting: HubCalc.
* And... a little comment on my present inabilities, courtesy of VVORK.
Sentence Removed (O’s Remain), 2000 by Jonathan Monk