Friday Feedback: Whither Sustainability?

istock_000001483014xsmall.jpgFridays the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by Joe Weinstein, commenting on “From an Economy of Consumption to an Economy of Sustainability,” by Walter Moss. Here’s Joe’s comment:

Thanks Prof. Walter, much appreciated.

If you seriously consider the sustainability small-can-be-beautiful approach, some of your ‘no-easy-answers’ serious questions begin to answer themselves.

“How do we take seriously his advice to deemphasize material consumption?” ANSWER: By personally taking seriously his advice -getting kicks from living life, not collecting or wasting goods. In some cases new technology is already massively helping: instead of humongous material resources to move people or goods, we can much more readily move information.

“How do we do this without hurting our economy (including our jobs, investments, pensions, school-funding, etc.)?” ANSWER: we do hurt our ‘economy’ (old definition) but we help ourselves and our overall quality of life.

“Is not our economic recovery dependent on a pick-up of consumer spending?” ANSWER Sure, if by ‘economic recovery’ you mean more resources and goods getting consumed or wasted.

” Would not a Buddhist or some other religious approach that minimizes or deemphasizes consuming hurt our economy and keep unemployment high?” ANSWER Well, it depends on what you mean not only by ‘economy’ but also by ‘employment’. If employment is defined to mean labor for compensation by money which buys all sorts of consumable and wastable goods and resources – yes, unemployment will stay high. And that answer holds for even a ‘non’-religious approach that deemphasizes consumption.

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