Conclusion: Is it the economy? Are we stupid?
During his presidential election campaign in 1992, Bill Clinton famously had a sign with the phrase, ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ hanging in his campaign headquarters. In 2008, some of us who are deeply concerned about the collision course human civilization is running with the planet also resorted to calling each other stupid, with the release of the film The Age of Stupid. I am in the camp that thinks it is not a very good idea to call each other names.13 For one thing, it is rude and undermining. For another, the clash that has been developing between economy and environment is not because of stupidity. We would have to be very stupid indeed to risk the future of our lives, our descendants’ lives and the beautiful planet we love, just for so many flashy gadgets and pieces of plastic crap. Yes, the way our economy works is the fundamental cause of the environmental crisis, but the fact that we are struggling to change our economy is not because of stupidity but because of an unequal distribution of power. Not to recognize this is to undermine our ability to make the changes that are necessary to safeguard human life on earth.