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Economics - July 16

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Interview with Dennis Meadows (Limits to Growth co-author)
Modeling Planetary Dynamics

George Kenney, Electric Politics
One could attach different numbers to the curves in Limits To Growth, maybe push the timeline back several decades, but one can't argue much with the heuristic conclusion that unrestricted exponential growth results in sudden collapse. If we won't make the hard choices to control growth (e.g., population and industrialization), nature will. To get a better sense of how planetary dynamics works and what policy changes might be available I turned to the very distinguished scholar Dr. Dennis Meadows, who has been working all his professional life to advance the cause of sustainability. It was kind of Dennis to take time to talk with me and I learned a great deal. Total runtime an hour and eighteen minutes. Think wisely!
(11 July 2008)
Interviewer George Kenney was a long-time member of the U.S. foreign service. He is now retired.
If you are not familiar with Limits to Growth, Wiki provides some background. -BA

When the going gets tough, economists go very quiet

Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
They're happy to take the credit in the good times, but the disciples of this false science are hard to find as recession looms
So the Footsie has tumbled again. Forgive me for asking, but where are the economists? As the nation approaches recession, an entire profession seems to have vanished over the horizon, like conmen stuffed with cash, and thousands left destitute behind. They said recessions were over. They told politicians to leave things to them and all would be fine. Yet they failed to spot the sub-prime housing crash, and now look at the mess.

When I studied economics we were told we would be masters of the universe. Ours was not a dismal but a noble science. It had harnessed the verities of maths to those of human behaviour and would go on to conquer politics. Rampant recession would go the way of hyperinflation. Like leprosy and cholera, they were epidemics that modern medicine had rid from our shores.
(9 July 2008)

Fed Chief bleak on economic outlook

Steven R. Weisman, New York Times
A sense of economic gloom gripped Washington on Tuesday as President Bush urged Americans not to lose faith, the Federal Reserve chairman offered a mostly bleak assessment of the difficulties ahead for the economy, and the administration’s latest effort to help the housing sector faced tough questioning in Congress...

...The Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, avoided the word “recession” but presented a generally gloomy picture, saying that consumer spending and exports were keeping growth “at a sluggish pace” while the housing sector “continues to weaken.” ...

...The main reasons for Mr. Bernanke’s sober assessment, he told senators, were rising commodity prices, especially energy, and continued weakness in the housing sector. He suggested that housing prices might turn around next year, but that high energy prices were likely to persist because demand was outstripping supply...
(16 July 2008)

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