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Dave Evans (12/03/2011 11:31)
Martin - the problem with so much economic thinking is exactly what you say. They treat the environment as if it is uncontrollable and therefore insignificant. Sadly what has just happened in Japan reminds us that nature is not easily tamed but it is very significant.
Dave Evans (12/03/2011 11:48)
Gretel - haven't got to Jackson's book yet but am looking forward to reading it. What I was trying to get at in the article was that we can easily end up living in a culture where nothing is immoral (indeed nothing is moral or good either) because someone can always point to a downside to any action.
Micha Jazz (Guest) (15/03/2011 16:13)
Dave I see two distinct elements here One the economic model we adopt, which can broadly be described as capitalist. This requires increasing volumes of spending to satisfy the engine at the heart of such a model. To use an outdated metaphor, as a steam engine requires stokers to shovel coal ceaselessly into the engine to ensure forward movement and speed, so capitalism requires ever more spending to secure movement of goods that requires employees to make more goods to replace those that are sold. Ultimately the tender will run out of coal, the stokers will have nothing to shovel and the engine will slowly come to a standstill.
Secondly, the issue of personal consumption relates to the underlying principle of St Benedict's sixth century monastic rule,; namely personal responsibility. Sadly this is the constant human battle, and one that each of us has to exercise personal discipline over. All of us participating in this interaction with your blog will have a distinct and different set of boundaries as to what is appropriate, some may not have allowed themselves or been sufficiently disciplined to set such boundaries. Yet for all of us the boundaries are inappropriate when contrasted with the enforced boundaries that our lifestyle choices impose upon fellow image bearers of the divine across the planet - be it Africa or Papua New Guinea.
As for building barns - I see this much more an issue relating to personal investments and pension provision. It is somewhat ironic that as we look at Japan currently facing a tremendous need and both media and politicians in UK call for compassion, the markets sell as fast as possible and push Japan's economy to the edge of survival. Now where is both the personal and the corporate responsibility evident in such behaviour. OH yes, I remember, it is simply sin.
Anna-Liisa (Guest) (31/07/2011 20:59)
As Christians we have an easy answer for our part (how to "sell" it for non-Christians is a harder question). We could/shoul live somewhat simply and giving the rest of what we earn to missions and for helping the poor and protecting the environment. The needs in all of these fields are enormous. One more thing, we should take better care for our elderly. By paying for all this as much as we can, we can all be a bit happier. For the nature it surely is better to hire a nurse for an old granmother than to by still more gadgets. And if someone has to consume to keep the engines working, should it not be the hungry. If we give them money so they can by locally produced food for themselves, isn´t it good?
Neisha Simone (Guest) (06/09/2011 09:04)
Insightful and thought provoking article which I thorougly enjoyed reading.
David Beattie (20/09/2011 09:46)
In the late 50's I studied economics. The only thing I remember from that time was something called " The Law of Diminishing Returns" Is this no longer part of our economic practice? By the way I have since moved over from "the dark side" to the green side
Rob Wakeling (Guest) (06/12/2011 16:10)
How can we influence the media to increase awareness of alternatives to increased growth and consumption? We can set an example by the way we live. We can write about our views. It's good to know there are other people thinking about these issues...
Sam Musoke (Guest) (07/12/2011 01:02)
Thank you for the thought provoking article.
Schumaker's book from the 70s 'Small is beautiful' really deserves a re-read - it blew my mind when I first read it 20 years ago and speaks even more powerfully today.
After the financial crisis (as if it's over!) BBC world service reported that carbon emissions went UP rather than down, I guess because people didn't have the extra money to buy expensive washable nappies over this weeks pamper supply and equivalent purchasing decisions. And governments reduced their investments and subsidies of green tech. By implication, economic, consumer driven growth is necessary for reducing carbon (leave aside the very valid comments about personal fulfillment).
But I think we should not kid ourselves. 'If I consume more, I help the world economy so that there is more money to be spent on fighting climate change' Doesn't really ring true does it. And I certainly can't imagine it coming from Jesus lips even in our different economic and climactic times.
So how do we enjoy Christmas, and bless others with gifts without compromising the values of the very person whose birth we celebrate?
1) Make rather than buy wherever possible. My cousin had a Christmas where the whole family were not allowed to give anything bought, It was their best ever.
2) Eat delicious quality food but in small amounts. 'No one thought or said anything about how small the Cratchit's Christmas pudding was for such a large family'. Imagine a poor family is watching you eat.
3) Buy things that last rather than things that will end up contributing to our over full landfill sites in January.
Dave Evans (29/12/2011 12:47) Thanks for all the comments - very helpful.
Sam - I guess your comments re Christmas reflect my views pretty accuartely!
K.Williams (Guest) (31/01/2012 01:47)
I have witnessed that greed, power and accumulation is seen by most as providing their security in various ways. It therefore stems from fear of harm from various sources. Unfortunately, most do not seem to recognise (or care) that the more we have for ourselves, the less there will be for others. Conscience seems to be disappearing by the second. The simple question is, do I take as much as I feel I want, regardless of what others can have, or will I share even 'my last rollo'? What's the simple answer though - follow Jesus and give up everything you have, perhaps becoming nomadic; give up a tithe (10th) of all your income whatever amount you have, or what, I think, most of us do - very little? Which of these? Also, do we activate politically, or do will merely 'render unto Ceaser that which is Ceasers? KW.
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