It all depends, it all depends, it all depends upon; it all depends upon your Point of View. I think that little refrain was learned on the school playground. It is even taught in one form or another in Economics 101. Everyone knows that a lot of things depend upon your point of view. Most of us ignore this knowledge and adopt the "one true" POV.
Conventional economics has its own One True Point Of View (OTPOV). Actually there are a whole series of them. People are economic units who will always act in their own self interest. Markets will adapt intelligently to changing conditions. The economy can continue to grow indefinitely. No doubt you can add to the list. It is this later one, the Continuously Growing Economy One True, that has led to most of our current problems. It is the one that got Jimmy Carter in trouble when he suggested there may be limits to growth, and along came Ronnie Reagan who helped us believe in our denial of reality (Morning in America), and in the process wupped Jimmy Carter's ass.
Now along comes "The new ecological accounting is variously called 'dynamic equilibrium', 'steady-state' or 'biophysical' economics".
In the 1970s, World Bank economist Herman Daly wrote Steady-State Economics to outline the future of ecological economics. Daly makes a distinction between 'sustainable growth', which is 'impossible', and 'sustainable development', which is natural. "The larger system is the biosphere and the subsystem is the human economy," says Daly. "We can develop qualitatively, but we cannot grow beyond the biosphere's limits."
These two diametrically opposed points of view can cause a good bit of confusion when considering priorities, as with the yesterday signed stimulus package.
On the one hand there is conventional economics, wherein getting the economy moving again by use of government spending is a good thing.
On the other hand there is Steady-State Economics, wherein much of what we have been doing should simply be discontinued and a new paradigm adopted. I wrote about this last week: Stimulus Bill Passes - Main Issues Not Addressed
Depending on my POV at the moment, the stimulus package was either: a), a good first step, or b), a monumentally stupid waste of additional resources on trying to prop up a failed system.
Sometimes I argue a case (often with myself) from one POV, sometimes from another. As a matter of convention on this blog, I will try to make that POV explicit.