Unfortunately, the Trump administration is bowing to the old special-interest line that the United States must choose economic competitiveness over environmental protection even though history says otherwise.
During the EPA’s 46 years, the United States experienced record growth while curtailing pollution. For every dollar spent on lifesaving regulations, we’ve seen up to $9 in health benefits — a boon for economic welfare. Conventional air pollutants have been reduced by 70 percent, while our economy grew by about 250 percent. By 2008, the environmental technologies and services industry supported 1.7 million jobs and generated $300 billion in revenue. That year, the industry exported goods and services worth $44 billion, topping U.S. sectors like plastics and rubber products. During the Obama administration, we set a course with the auto industry to double fuel efficiency and prevent millions of tons of carbon pollution. Today, the industry is thriving.
Bullish environmental leadership and climate action are not costs; they’re investments.
"The question turns on what it is people need in order to live well." That's how Timothy Gorringe approaches the practices of economics, if we are going to create a better world.
Of course our current economic practices are largely to blame for the depredations of the environment and the coming dark age he outlined in the introduction. And in particular, he blames neoliberal capitalism of the last half-century.
I remain a capitalist and couldn't go along with all of his criticisms, though I do agree that the neoliberal turn fifty years ago, especially away from Keynesianism and the New Deal consensus, was full of mistakes.
His basic point in these chapters of the book is that we've created our system and can chose to have a different/better one. On that I do agree.
I also agree that theology has a lot to say about economics. Gorringe quotes Wendell Berry that one way of translating what is usually "kingdom of God" would be "the Great Economy."
What we do need is an economics that prizes cooperation and is focused more on grace than growth.
His chapter on monetary reform was interesting, as I'd never read a chapter on that topic in a theology book before. Though I didn't find his arguments there persuasive. It's also a topic I know very little about.
Finally for this section, there was a chapter on agriculture and the need to replace the devastating industrial agriculture we find ourselves with now. That chapter I mostly skimmed, already being convinced of this point from decades of reading Wendell Berry.