Anytime I hear an economist talking sense about our situation I sit up and take notice.
A particularly nice example appears in the letters to the editor at the International Herald Tribune from Barbara Bergmann, Prof Emerita of economics, U of MD. I’ll quote the most amazingly sensible part.
Economic growth in the United States has meant bigger cars, bigger houses and more gadgets, all of which we could do without. We could regain and maintain a reasonably healthy employment picture with little or no growth by essentially sharing jobs, a sharing effectuated by decreases in working hours in step with productivity advances.
Adopting such a regime would be politically difficult, perhaps impossible. But you never know unless you try, and the suffering that failure would bring would be incalculable. Surely even the leaders of the oil industry have grandchildren they care about.
Surely people can be brought to their senses and understand that this sort of change is to everybody’s advantage. I fail to see anything resembling an alternative to the Great Slackening, really. It’s always reassuring when somebody else figures it out.