John Paul Wright at the Concert for The Berry Center
Wendell Berry's Correspondence with Thomas Merton

Wendell Berry writes to NYRB

Though I am not an economist, I do read articles and columns by economists. One of my interests in doing so is to see if any attention is paid either to the natural world or to the economies of land use. Though “the economy” obviously depends upon both nature and land use, those subjects are rarely mentioned, let alone attended to.

At the risk of trying your patience, I will point out that “What Is Wrong with the West’s Economies?” [NYR, August 13] by Edmund Phelps makes no mention of nature or “natural resources” or any land-using economy. He speaks once of “rural life” in order, tritely, to dismiss it from any concern or importance. And he speaks once of “the crops”—“the crops may be growing…”—but that is a trope. The crops in fact “may be” growing, but he takes for granted that they are.

Read more at The New York Review of Books


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