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We're living beyond our means.

One thing that the threat of climate change should have taught us is we all have to live within limits--contrary to one of the main assumptions of conventional economies. The carbon emission limit is one of several required for sustainability.

The economic assumption that there are no limits is proving disastrous, as also is another: that there are no values other than monetary ones. Thus the present system tells us that young mothers should work for a wage rather than care for their children at home.

Another false assumption is that there is no difference between monetary transactions which have beneficial effects and ones that are damaging. Consequently, in measuring economic growth, the cost of crime is added to the cost of medical treatment. According to present economic theory, anything that adds to growth of transactions is valuable.

So any means of increasing debt is desirable, especially if you can get people who can't afford a house to get a mortgage, or half the school leavers to become indebted by simply going to university. Little wonder that these false economic assumptions are causing the human race to seriously degrade almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on earth as a result of living beyond our means.

If we are to escape from a continuation of this destructive economic process, we surely need a new economic system based on true assumptions that are rational and real. Without necessary controls based on a knowledge of all the limits with which we must live, and our ethical system for their application to market transactions, things can only get worse.

John Davis, Swanage, Dorset

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Title Annotation:Letters ... about sustainability, shipbuilding, and the usual energy debates
Author:Davis, John
Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Nov 4, 2009
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