Azara Blog: Another pointless report from another pointless consultancy

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Date published: 2009/10/01

The BBC says:

The recession has had little impact on humanity's over-consumption of resources, says a report.

The New Economics Foundation (Nef) calculates the day each year when the world goes into "ecological debt."

This is the date by which humanity has used the quantity of natural resources that ought to last an entire year if used at a sustainable rate.

This year, "ecological debt day" falls on 25 September - just one day later than in 2008.

According to Nef, this means that the biggest recession for nearly a century has made very little difference to global consumption.
Andrew Simms, Nef policy director and co-author of the report, said: "Debt-fuelled over-consumption not only brought the financial system to the edge of collapse, it is pushing many of our natural life support systems toward a precipice.

"Politicians tell us to get back to business as usual; but if we bankrupt critical ecosystems, no amount of government spending will bring them back.

"We need a radically different approach to rich world consumption."

Calling for an end to the consumption explosion, he said that while billions in poorer countries subsist, "we (in the rich West) consume vastly more, and yet with little or nothing to show for it in terms of greater life satisfaction."

Nef (one of the zillions of useless consultancies that plague the nation) indeed "calculates the day each year when the world goes into 'ecological debt'". And every year the BBC duly publishes what amounts to a press release on behalf of Nef, without any critical analysis at all. So is their calculation in any way believable, and even if it was, is it in any way significant (given that we have a few billion years of ecosystem in the bank, so to speak).

If Simms thinks there is a "consumption explosion" then he has to look no further than the consultants, like himself, who work for Nef and no doubt get paid far, far more than the median wage in Britain, never mind the world, since pen pushers always get paid more than people who actually do something for a living. But of course it's not his own consumption he wants to cut, it's the consumption of the peasants that he wants to cut.

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