Opinion: (Tim Jackson, professor, director of research project Resolve, author of Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet): “Every society clings to a myth by which it lives.
“Ours is the myth of economic growth. For the last five decades, the pursuit of growth has been the single most important policy goal across the world. The global economy is five times the size it was half a century ago. If it continues to grow at the same rate it will be 80 times that size by the year 2100.
“This extraordinary ramping up of global economic activity is without historical precedent. It is totally at odds with the finite resource base and the fragile ecology on which we depend for survival.
“Most of the time, we avoid the stark reality of these numbers. Growth must go on, we insist.
“The reasons for this collective blindness are easy enough to find.
“Western capitalism is structurally reliant on growth for its stability. When growth falters – as it has done recently – politicians panic. Businesses struggle to survive. People lose their jobs and sometimes their homes.
“Questioning growth is deemed to be the act of lunatics, idealists, and revolutionaries.
“Yet question it we must. The myth of growth has failed us. It has failed the two billion people who still live on less than $2 a day. It has failed the fragile ecological systems on which we depend for survival.
“But economic crisis presents us with a unique opportunity to invest in change. To sweep away the short-term thinking that has plagued society for decades. To engage, for instance, in a radical overhaul of dysfunctional capital markets.
“Untrammelled speculation in commodities and financial derivatives brought the financial world to the brink of collapse just three years ago. It needs to be replaced by a longer, slower sense of capital.
“Fixing the economy is only part of the battle. We also have to confront the convoluted logic of consumerism. The days of spending money we do not have on things we do not need to impress people we do not care about are over.
“Living well is about good nutrition, decent homes, access to good quality services, stable communities, satisfying employment.
“Prosperity, in any meaningful sense of the word, transcends material concerns. It resides in our love for our families, the support of our friends, the strength of our communities, our ability to participate fully in the life of society, a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.”
My Comment: Some don’t see the future of society in unity and fair consumption, and some do see such a society in the future. But actually, material equality in a society of reasonable consumption can exist by giving more fulfillment to every person rather than by following one’s egoistic demands to be better, higher, stronger, richer, and smarter than others.
And that is possible only by spiritual fulfillment, which a person can receive by revealing the next level of existence, that of “Human” (Adam). And this needs to be explained to a person in advance even if he or she is not willing to perceive it yet. This is because life will gradually show a person that it leads him or her exactly to that.
Has Western Capitalism Failed? Part 1
Has Western Capitalism Failed? Part 2
Altruism Is Precise Calculation