Monday, 16 November 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury on human well-being and economic decision-making

Rowan Williams has been giving a lecture today at the TUC Economics Conference. Its powerful stuff - as almost everything Williams writes is. Here's an extract which struck me particularly as we heard today that in Copenhagen a binding decision on climate change may not be possible:

'In reality', writes Kenny Tang, a leading Asian expert in sustainable development, 'there are only two sources of wealth in the world today: the wealth that flows from our use of the Earth's resources and ecosystems, all powered by incoming solar radiation (our natural capital); and the wealth that flows from the use of our hands, brains and spirits (our human capital)' (CRISISnomics, Credit and Climate, p.114). It is a sharp reminder that exactly the same threat lies ahead in both the ecological context and the human – the exhaustion of resources, the depletion of natural capital and the shrinking of human capital by the abuse of brain and spirit that results from social fragmentation and from personal stress and lostness in inhuman patterns of working.