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Economics Says…

6 April 2009

If the only ones who benefit from this celebration are those currently alive, it would be unfair to ask future generations to pay for any of those costs….Costs imposed on future generations should be commensurate with benefits received by them.

–Bluestone et al., The Urban Experience: Economics, Society, and Public Policy

Yet isn’t this exactly what we’re doing in terms of our environment? There is little economic justification for using up our natural resources now, putting our future into an ecological debt.

In some cases, debt is justified. Sometimes you need an influx of captial to get out of a period of recession and stagnation. But we’ve been borrowing and borrowing more in times of prosperity, instead of paying off the loans we already took. How does that make economic sense?

If, a hundred years from now, our great-grandchildren are still working to clean up the skies, still struggling to find enough food on a warmer climate with unpredictable and violent weather, how are we going to be remembered? Certainly not with fondness.

If we want to leave a planet that our children won’t hate us for, we need to start saving now.


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