Prosperity without Growth

23 Aug 2011

I've been banging my head on the table for this for a few years now; how do we recover from a World economy that is in a deep crisis? And detach ourselves from this relatively recent phenomenan called growth, which rules our entire economical thinking and planning.

Growth rules our lives. In simplistic terms it provides increasing income to from company expansions, who hire more people to do this work, who then, along with their companies, pay greater taxes to governments, who then build more roads, schools and hospitals, who then need more companies to this work. And so on. All very nice, but built on a level of borrowing and debt way beyond our economic, social and environmental means. Which, as we all know, has come crashing down to Earth. The problem is that, unlike 2008, there is little we can do to get out of this fix with such chronic levels of debt and our total reliance on the G word. 

Sustainability advocates such as myself have been preaching from the pulpit that everything we do in our economies will have an affect on society and the environment. And vice vice versa. This is what sustainability is. In example terms, read into the linkages between living beyond our means, debt levels, high unemployment, growing levels of inequality, peak oil and resource depletion, dependance on oil, food and water shortages, declining happiness. And a lot more. Everything has an affect somewhere on something else. 

Many highly respected ecomomists are now doubting our ability to recover from this present crisis in our old ways of thinking and stressing the need for a new ecoomic model which takes into account these linkages. Better brains than me are working overtime designing it, I'm just passionately promoting it! And I hasten to add, this is not some leftist agenda, but now essential mainstream politics. 

The good news is that out of every crisis is an opportunty and this is no exception. There is a golden opportunity - and with the total interlinkages of World ecomomies, a necessity - to get out of this mess we have created.  

Prosperity without growth is something we can indeed all look forward to. It just requires real leadership from the top, real change from the top to the bottom, and the bringing out from under the carpet all those "uncomfortable truth" issues that have been denied or swept away.  

For how we can possibly do this, please read an excllent article at http://www.monbiot.com/2011/08/22/out-of-the-ashes/ 

Here's to a prosperous future - without growth! 

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