The trouble with Economists is that they are – for the most part – focused upon the wrong problem: making extinction “more efficient….”

The goals of technology and those of “economics” as a profession need to be thoroughly re-assessed.   For example, the goal of making things “more efficient” seems laudable in many contexts.  BUT the mindless pursuit of efficiency can become a tragic distraction and dangerous diversion from the larger problem of moving humanity collectively away from its large and growing dependence upon fossilized carbon energy sources.

We need to keep clear in our minds that the goal is not simply to become more efficient in the use of fossil fuels, but rather to displace them entirely and move to a zero-carbon emission fuel system based on the infinite supply of throughput solar energy.  Efficiency, properly conceived, needs to foster the transition from our current fossil fuel dependence toward solar sustainability.   If it fails to do this “efficiency” itself is not a virtue and may well be counter-productive, since it could serve to keep alive the illusion of heightened consumerism and continuous growth.

The life-long commitment and insightful and incisive writings of Herman Daly over the last half century represent, perhaps, the single most important critique of the myopia of neo-classical economics when it comes to our ecological circumstance.


For an ecological approach to the limitations of “development economics” from a perspective inspired by the seminal work of Herman Daly, and other scholars focused on historical ecology see:

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