Global Economy an “Impossible Hamster”

02/25/2010 09:52 PM

In its recent report, Growth Isn’t Possible, UK-based nef (the new economics foundation) concludes that it is impossible to avoid the dangers of climate change as long as economic growth continues in high-income countries. 

And what better way to illustrate this finding than with a nine billion ton hamster?

Together with its partners One Hundred Months and Wake Up, Freak Out, nef uses a seemingly harmless hamster in an animated clip to highlight the dangers of endless growth on a finite planet. “A young hamster doubles its weight each week between birth and puberty,” an ominous voice on the clip warns. “But if it grew at the same rate until its first birthday, we’d be looking a nine billion ton hamster.”

According to Andrew Simms, co-author of the report and nef policy director, our traditional value on economic growth and GDP are as ridiculous as the impossible hamster. “Endless growth is pushing the planet’s biosphere beyond its safe limits. We urgently need to change our economy to live within its environmental budget.”

The new economics foundation, developer of the Happy Planet Index and a Global Footprint Network partner, is an independent think-tank aimed at improving quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues.


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