Blogging the Stimulus

Friday, March 27, 2009


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a.k.a. the Stimulus bill, passed last month in a firestorm of debate, but how many people have actually sat down to read the whole thing? The New Yorker's Steve Coll is doing just that, and blogging along the way.

Comments [2]

Matt W. from Arlington, Virginia

Making money conform to the needs of the earth will not be possible as long as price signals continue to represent the aggregated preferences of individuals. To comment otherwise ignores the last 20 years of academic economics.

Mar. 30 2009 07:53 PM
Phil Henshaw from New York City

It's remarkable how SO many sustainability discussions neatly skirt the main issue. I suppose it must be because reporters are unclear about it, and maybe don't want to reveal their own confusion, especially when the majority of people would not really want them to talk about it anyway.

You're overlooking the reason that we got too big for the earth in the first place, our plan to always get bigger and bigger. That is still the Obama administration's central design for prosperity, to keep increasing the scale of the economy forever. Please feel free to ask. You won’t need to believe my answers. I’ll just point to where the concerns are and you can think it through yourself.

The problem with developing a future alternative energy infrastructure is NOT that power lines are ugly and people don't want them, though that is also quite true. The problem is that the sheer quantity now required, to keep growing while the land and the sun don't. The energy uses we became dependent on, taking oil from inconspicuous holes in the ground, is simply enormous. The scale of that invisible source is now becoming highly visible as we try to spread it out on otherwise beautiful landscape.

To meet the demand vast installations of black panels would be needed, leaving few places in the prime energy collection states where high tension cables were not prominent, and, need to keep growing bigger and bigger. What happened is we got big by getting bigger. Now the earth has gotten small as a result, but we still cling to the old plan to keep getting bigger, though. It’s a plan to make the earth conform to the needs of money, instead of make money conform to the needs of the earth.

…see the problem? Best, Phil

Mar. 29 2009 07:25 PM

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