Question: Why is austerity a bad idea right now?
Juliet Schor: What we really need to do as a society is
invest in a series of activities and areas that we’ve been neglecting.
The average American is working longer hours today than he or she has,
you know, at any time since you know, for many, many decades.
this mean is that as we have sort of over invested in money and
consumer goods and so forth, we’ve let other sources of wealth erode.
We’ve neglected our communities, our families, and our planet. So,
austerity is really not addressing that issue. We’ve got to actually
take our effort, our money, and our effort to investing in the things
which we have eroded. Because hollowing out our communities, hollowing
out our families, long-hour lifestyles and so forth, undermine
well-being and they undermine our ability to actually have a more
plentiful and abundant future.
One of the ways to think about
it is that from the ecological point of view, it’s pretty clear we need a
major shift to a whole new set of technologies. The technologies of
the industrial revolution which took nature as if it were endless and in
free supply and we could pollute the atmosphere without paying
attention to it, pollute our rivers, cut down all our trees, and so
forth. Our technology, our economic system, the way we value things,
it’s all based on that idea, which is a crazy idea and the sort of the
chickens are coming home to roust on that as we’ve befouled the climate,
run down our ecosystems and so forth to get to a new kind of production
and consumption system which actually respects and restores the Earth,
it means we’re going to have to do a lot of investing.
that’s investing at a local scale; at a smaller scale. It’s a whole
different economic model than the one we’ve been using.
Recorded on June 2, 2010
Interviewed by Jessica Liebman