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Why the need for Constant Growth?

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posted on May, 22 2012 @ 01:38 PM
I'm no economist, so maybe those who are a little more familiar with the subject can explain.

It seems to me that all nations are obsessed with growth and how to get their failing economies to grow again. I can understand wanting to get back to an even keel, but constant growth for every nation on the planet is surely impossible given our current reliance on fossil fuels to power those economies?

The idea of continuous growth inevitably runs into the limits of the system that contains it, in this case a finite planet.

What other entity desires constant growth. Most things in nature find a balance and harmony with their surroundings, yet nation states believe that we must be in a constant state of growth in order to survive.

While growth is generally seen as a good thing, it’s not always true that if something is good, more of it must be better. We don’t want our children to be seven or eight feet tall. Living things will grow, for the most part, until they are at their mature size, and then they’ll stop. Some mysterious internal mechanism knows when more growth would actually hinder their long-term ability to survive.

How can nations in the west who have gone through a stage of deindustrialization compete with the likes of China. In the west we moved away from our manufacturing and industry and moved to a service industry and finance dominated society. Yet we are now expected to compete with the new industrialized nations for financial growth.

So is growth just an economic law that can not be challenged or are there other way for nations to survive?

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 01:40 PM
If youi knew anything regarding economics, you would know growth the a key part, and kind of the whole point.


posted on May, 22 2012 @ 01:45 PM
I use to say they're always looking for growth when they can't even get stability.

It's about common sense


posted on May, 22 2012 @ 01:47 PM
reply to post by Sinny

What happens if our planet can not sustain the growth of every economy in the world? It's not possible, unless that economic growth can come up with a way to sustain it's rampent appetite without destroying the planet in the process.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 01:51 PM
You are correct. The thing is western economic theories were conceived when there was an apparent limitless supply of raw materials , from the third world who didn't consume them. However, that third world is joining the western economies and the theories reliant on constant growth are doomed to failure.

Right wing politics cannot cope with this and respond with the "capitalism had never been given a proper chance" chant. Left wing politics have not come up with an alternative to constant growth but temper the need for rampant growth instead ie they delay the inevitable.

The world does have limited resources and we are coming up against the limits of rare earths for our electronics, water is becoming scarcer with water tables declining rapidly, the oceans are slowly dying from over consumption of fish etc etc. We are definitely heading for a collapse which will accelerate as China and India ramp up production and workers there demand the same things as us but there are 10 times as many!

What we need is an economy based on sustainability with countries utilising far far more self generated and re-cycled materials.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 01:52 PM
reply to post by woodwardjnr

We need growth becaue people grow. Generation after generaton, new users, new consumers, new makers, new. . . . . . . .

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 01:52 PM
reply to post by woodwardjnr

Excellent post! I couldn't agree more and have always contemplated the same thing. Growth, and the opportunity for growth, has finite limits. All one needs to do is look toward nature to understand that growth is finite. Unmitigated growth comes at the expense of everything around it. Algaue blooms kill entire econsystems. So too will economic growth.

Why is that business has ignored the very necessary state of stasis. In nature, all things desire and work toward stasis. in business, it is quite the contrary and works more like a virus or a bacterium. Clearly an unhealthy approach to business, IMO.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 01:54 PM
Money / Power.
And making more debt always, ''good'' thing with more debt, there are more and more people (each day) which can support the new created debt.
But yea it's kinda silly and in the end it just can't work.

When for example a economy grows, or like for example you ''grow'' with more money, it's always at a cost of something or someone. Something just isn't right.

It's hard to find a sollution I guess, since when you so deep in something for such a long time which grows bigger each day, so in the end. It will solve but then like an implosion. Like for example facebook, they don't really earn all that money, or Britney Spears, some good soccer player, or all the milions of copy's of windows.. That money, always comes from someone, at a cost.. It's not really they worked their asses that much to come even close to that money they ''earn''. If you work really hard and with your body you get paid #.. and with zero attention, let alone respect? somehow money gives you respect, power, do as you wish. You can do what you want, and get away with it.

But hey, the good thing is I guess, we can always start over? Lets hope we find a better sollution after.
edit on 22-5-2012 by Plugin because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 01:57 PM
reply to post by woodwardjnr

Evidently our planet is a closed system, their is an upper limit beyond which no further growth can be achieved.

The challenge is to make a sustainable economy before we are forced to by natural forces.

Any growth in the future can only be achieved by utilizing the resources of the Solar System.

That's the economic reality, unfortunately we still live in a world of economic fantasy that doesn't pay attention to consequences.


posted on May, 22 2012 @ 02:03 PM
reply to post by woodwardjnr

You have a point there and to be honest it's something I've never really considered.

I know that if we look back through history and look at civilizations and empires etc that stopped seeking to grow and develop and sought purely to maintain the status quo within their relative societies then they soon started collapsing inwards upon themselves.

I suppose though that the old adage rings true, for every action there has to be an opposite and equal reaction - in a finite world where resources etc are limited there must come a point where for every expansion there has to be a retraction.

I don't know mate, just thinking out loud woody....certainly one to ponder on.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 02:03 PM
I was wondering this the other day on a state level.

There was a talking head on the radio running for governor and he kept going on about "growth" and making the state "competitive."

I cant figure out why any of that matters. Is there some race all the states are running? Where is the finish line? How do we know who's winning? Why do I care where the state of my residence places? What's in it for me?

Personally, I'd prefer it if this state ceased being attractive to newcomers. I want to see an increase in exodus. Every last person can leave and take their taxes and dependency with them.

A competition implies there is something to be won. Maybe I'm just not seeing the prize?

I've had it explained to me that government wants to attract more people into an area of control to spread the burden of operation out and in turn make it easier for everyone. Yet I have never seen that in practice. The more people who come into an area the higher the overall burden for everyone gets. Is that winning?

According to the pattern I am seeing winning means high population density, high taxation and widespread municipal corruption and losing is low population density and a virtual lack of government.

How does that make sense?

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 02:04 PM
reply to post by woodwardjnr

Well, the definition of growth has been modified over the years. I remember when regular people were fighting the exportation of these jobs. They were right, the people who formed this fake economy were wrong. Our government chose the false economy by a risky educated group of people in place of a safe slow steady growth of the economy by producing essentials. I don't understand how an economic system that has been proven through history never to work was ever adopted. Just because a lot of countries believed this would work doesn't make it right. We have many countries at risk of going under now, not just the United States.

When a billion people believe in a lie it doesn't become truth. It just becomes a very dangerous lie.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 02:08 PM
It's usually best to start at the beginning. Some mistakenly think that interest rates are the sole cause of growth requirements. Consider for a moment that they don't exist.

You create 10 units of currency, by 'borrowing' them from an institution that creates them. You have to pay back the 10 units. You now pay for something you need. Another party now has, say 11 units. You have nine. The other guy also borrowed 10 units. He can settle his 10 unit debt and still has 1 unit to spend. If he spends it with you, you can settle your remaining 1 unit of debt. But now there are no units left. A third party must exist, who also borrows money. Then a fourth, a fifth etc. Each person must somehow convince another to part with their money. To avoid the zero-sum, in which all debt is settled and no money remains, requires that new parties to the system continually emerge. Or, growth, as we call it.

The stable ecosystems you used as an example are situations where two rates of change happen to be equal. The rate of birth, and death. If populations grow, the money supply must grow with it, interest rates or not. Of course, having money in circulation, physical or digital is, in itself, the basis of some people's business model.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 02:11 PM
Hitler said that "world history teaches us that no people has become great through its economy but that a people can very well perish thereby", and later said that "the economy is something of secondary importance"

The economy should be secondary. National Socialism is the solution. National Socialism aims at freeing a nation by emphasizing economic self-sufficiency. If the needs of the people are met,which isnt that hard when you remove the profit,then the rest loses its power and becomes secondary. National Socialism without the racism is the solution. National Socialism does not rely on constant growth. Its an option,but its not required.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 02:13 PM
reply to post by yorkshirelad

"What we need is an economy based on sustainability with countries utilising far far more self generated and re-cycled materials."

Would you by chance be suggesting a Soylent Green type of economy?

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 02:28 PM
reply to post by Germanicus

In a time where image is everything perhaps you should think of re-branding National Socialism under some other trademark 'ism'.

Any mention of National Socialism immediately conjures up images of The Holocaust, WWII and the restriction of civil liberties etc.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 02:32 PM
The growth of the economy -- and that of other things -- can be modelled by the logistic function. According to this model we are undergoing the initial stage of growth. This seems plausible; steam power only took off about 3 centuries ago and humans have been living for much longer time than that. Growth will taper off when the conditions stop allowing for more growth.

The population growth of China for example underwent an explosion in the 1900s, then slowed down. The growth will reach (already reached?) an equilibrium when the conditions do not allow for more growth. For example, if Chinese did not advance technologically or immigrate to other countries or expand their landmass, they won't grow anymore.

What other entities desire constant growth? Nothing really desires, but things grow anyway. You'd know if you've seen ivy climb up the side of a building. But just like everything else the growth of the ivy is checked. The the amount of water and sunlight it receives, the surface area of the building, they all limit the growth of the ivy.

I guess we'll just have to put up, right?

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 02:35 PM

Originally posted by woodwardjnr
So is growth just an economic law that can not be challenged or are there other way for nations to survive

Originally posted by Sinny
If youi knew anything regarding economics, you would know growth the a key part, and kind of the whole point.

Growth in itself is not the problem. It is the insane drive for exponential growth that is bringing western and developed economies to their knees.

Slower, steadier growth where business's primary objective is to provide essential goods and services to people, where profit represents secondary or even tertiary impetus and where paid work is not seen as the panacea to all of life's hardships, would be more sustainable.

Would slower growth merely mean that bust comes later, that it would just take longer to reach the finite? The planet is self sustaining, self regulating and regenerative. This why I believe slower growth, working in symbiosis with the rest of the natural world, would result in self sustaining economies.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 02:45 PM
There is indeed a way to have sustainable economic growth with practically no limit in sight. I am talking about growth based on scientific and technological progress. Thats the kind of economic growth we do need, and should pursue vigorously.

posted on May, 22 2012 @ 02:48 PM
Well without growth we'd still be living in mud huts wearing animal skins and hunting with a sharp rock attached to a stick. Additionally as previously mentioned since the population is growing exponentially everything else needs to as well.

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