Politicians need to hear from us. They need to understand that the tired strategy of growing the economy isn’t going to solve our problems. Their repeated calls for economic growth are largely due to a lack of understanding about the downsides of economic growth and a lack of awareness about the alternative—a dynamic, healthy steady state economy. Please consider contacting your politicians, from city hall to the statehouse to the national legislature, and tell them that you are interested in creating a better economy, an economy that provides prosperity without growth.
Here is a brief sample letter that you can use, modify, or adapt for a phone or face-to-face conversation:
Dear Representative/Senator/Council Person/Member of Parliament/Mayor/Governor/President:
I am concerned about the consequences of economic growth. We have a reached a significant point in history where growth costs more than it is worth. Because of social, environmental and economic costs, growth is actually making us poorer, not richer. The good news is that there is a desirable alternative to growth, a steady state economy. A steady state economy eliminates wild boom-and-bust swings and aims for stability. By establishing an economy with stable population and resource consumption, we can focus on living good lives and making sure all citizens are able to meet their needs.
I understand the sea change represented by a transition from the growth paradigm to a steady state economy, and I am aware of the political difficulty associated with calling for such a sea change. I am not asking you to revamp the economy overnight, but I am asking you to consider changing how you discuss growth with your colleagues and how you portray growth to the public. Decades ago, growing the economy solved (or at least put on hold) many societal problems. But today bigger does not mean better. I hope you will level with the people, refuse to ignore the costs of growth, and contemplate the possibility of an economy that provides prosperity without growth. Now more than ever before, we need an honest dialogue about economic growth, for ourselves and for our children and granchildren.