Economic growth vs. sustainability

I think I may have writer’s block. (Ha ha.) Anyway, wondering where to start, probably just at the beginning of yesterday where I left off and do this more or less linearly.

First off in the morning was keynote address by economist Todd Hirsch. Good speaker–personable, amusing, and managed to convey a lot of info about the state of the world, US, Canadian and Alberta economies without tiresome charts and detail.
Surprisingly the “fast jackrabbit” of the Alberta economy a few years ago has slowed to a tortoise’s pace (“if I had animation on here I might show it backing up a little”) because of high natural gas inventories and corresponding low prices, with unemployment fueled by job-seekers from other provinces (uncharacteristically during a contracting phase). Along with Ontario, Alberta may lag in recovering from the recession next year.
Sask and Manitoba are already out of recession, although Manitoba never really went into recession! Surprisingly to me, there seemed to be some sneering and contempt in the room for that province’s “even-steven”/steady growth of 1-2% per year, without booms or busts, and a general belief that renewed growth in resource extraction will be a good thing for everybody. Personally I’d hoped that this recession would teach us a thing or two and we’d come out of it with less appetite for growth and consumption and more for sustainability and cognizance of environmental impacts–maybe we have something to learn from a place like Manitoba?

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