Growth is the Problem, Not the Solution

distributive_justice_bumper_stickerA friend and colleague recently shared with me yet another economic analysis from yet another economist who was struggling with the question of how to maintain perpetual growth in the economy to keep pace with — or, better, exceed — the rate of growth of the population.

I responded that this economist, like so many of his professional colleagues, is missing — or perhaps deliberately blinding himself to — the underlying Truth about which few if any of them wish to talk.

Growth is the problem, not the solution or even a path to the solution.

We must learn to live with enough rather than demanding excess. We must create a stable economy in which continual growth is recognized for the impossibility it has always been.

Every single resource that must be consumed (and ultimately depleted) to fuel the fires of economic growth is in finite supply. Every reliable indicator — not just from science but from every other area of human endeavor and understanding — points clearly to the impossibility of us continuing to increase the rate at which we consume these largely non-renewable resources.

As long as all of our economic indicators and processes depend on a growing economy, we will keep driving the engines of creation into the ditches of greed.

Distribution, not retribution, must characterize our systems of economic justice.

It is well past time to wake up to this Truth. We need to attempt to reach the point of population equilibrium (Zero Population Growth, or ZPG). We must learn to recognize the absolute and inalienable right of every human being to adequate food, shelter, water, medical care and personal safety. And then we must figure out how to reallocate the distribution of those goods across the broad population of the planet, to diminish or demolish the have-have not gap that keeps us from recognizing our fundamental Oneness.

Comments are closed.