Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Policy of Growth not Sustainable

This is in response to and in support of David Ellis' thoughtful April 29 letter in the Statesman Journal "Population growth might be bad". I couldn't agree more, and I'd like to take it a step further, "Economic growth might be bad". I think in both cases it depends on where you're at in the spectrum of the physical limits of your environment. For the population issue experts concluded in the 1970's that we were nearing our planet's population limit, based on the fact that there are decades of lag time between an attempt to stop population growth and the realization of this goal. Here is the first conclusion of an abstract to "The Limits to Growth", a report to the Club of Rome (1972), "If the present growth trends in world population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity."

The idea that economic growth might not be desirable is really just an extension of the population growth discussion. If you think about it, continual economic growth depends on a growing population both to supply more labor and to supply more consumers. Likewise, a continually growing population depends on economic growth to provide jobs. Since the population limit is upon us, it follows that we are also at the point where economic growth is no longer good. This is a generalization, as there are still some parts of the world that desperately need this growth, but the developed world does not.

So if we can't have an economy based on continual growth, what should we do? Bill McKibben explores this idea very responsibly in his recent "Deep Economy", and it is discussed in great detail in the classic "For the Common Good" by Daly and Cobb. I suggest that we think about a system where we only manufacture what we need. This means an end to marketing ploys aimed at getting people to buy new gadgets or more stuff. It really means the end of the economy as we have known it, and a totally different way of life. I don't think this can be accomplished solely by the free market.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Industrial Society is destroying necessary things [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land] for making unnecessary things [consumer goods].

"Growth Rate" - "Economy Rate" - "GDP"

These are figures of "Ecocide".
These are figures of "crimes against Nature".
These are figures of "destruction of Ecosystems".
These are figures of "Insanity, Abnormality and Criminality".

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land].

Destroy the system that has killed all ecosystems.

Chief Seattle of the Indian Tribe had warned the destroyers of ecosystems way back in 1854 :

Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realize that you cannot eat money.

To read the complete article please follow any of these links.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Delhi, India