What do you think about economic growth? Do you think about it at all? We hope you do, because economic growth is rapidly becoming one of the biggest threats of the 21st Century.
Growth, especially in wealthy nations, is already causing more problems than it solves. These are not little problems, like a bad haircut or a noisy refrigerator. We’re talking about environmental destruction, economic instability, and international turmoil that threatens national security.
Rather than pulling out all the stops for growth, wouldn’t it be wiser to maintain a healthy, dynamic economy at the right size? An economy with stabilized population and “footprint”? A size that fits on the planet, respects the neighbors, evolves with the times, and is fair to producers and consumers? That’s the steady state economy.
Already on board? Wishing we had a steady state economy? Help make it happen:
Not on board yet? Then get ready for a steady-state epiphany, because the more you think about it, the less appealing growth will be.
Supply Shock: Read the tour de force for a steady state economy.
Think, for example, what economic growth actually means: increasing production and consumption of goods and services in the aggregate. Think about what it entails: increasing population and/or per capita consumption. Think how it’s measured: with GDP (gross domestic product). While it may seem magical or miraculous for certain “captains” of industry, “wolves” of Wall Street, or brothers named “Koch,” for the vast majority of us economic growth is a mundane process of more and more stuff. What we really treasure is family, community, nature, and spiritual growth, not GDP.
Now think about how an economy is structured. There must be agricultural and extractive surplus for manufacturing and services to proliferate. Next, there’s the inevitable increase in environmental impact that comes with evermore agricultural and extractive production. Sorry to the perpetual growthers out there, but there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Of course you’ll hear fuzzy talk of “dematerializing” the economy, the “information economy,” and various visions of “zero-waste” economies. Two oxymorons – “green growth” and “sustainable growth” – are all-time classics in the annals of growth rhetoric. But if none of these concepts ring as true as limits to growth and the need for a steady state economy, you’re on the right track and you’re joining a growing number of citizens who “get it.”
In the pages of Discover, we dispel various myths about perpetual economic growth. We demonstrate – in plain language – how the laws of thermodynamics just don’t allow for ever-increasing efficiency, much less getting something from nothing! We engage your common sense and supplement it with sound science. We show how the principles of ecology apply to the human economy, and why the conflict between economic growth and environmental protection is a “fundamental” conflict that cannot be reconciled through technological progress.
If you’re not on board yet, we won’t ask for your donations, your signature, or your membership. All we ask of you is an open mind. We’re CASSE, and we’re pretty sure you have a paradigm shift awaiting you. We’ve seen it over and over, and you’re halfway there with the act of discovery.