Economic growth

“Only in economics is endless expansion seen as a virtue. In biology it is called cancer.”
(From David Pilling’s book “The Growth Delusion”).

Pilling’s core contention is that gross domestic product – the measurement upon which so much economic analysis is based – is an arbitrary, oversimplified construct that we “slavishly follow” for no good reason. Indeed, a good argument can be put forward for saying that capitalist “growth” and limitless expansion is going to end up skewering the human race and the planet it lives on. There is only so much junk plastic you can throw into the ocean, only so many wild creatures you can render extinct, only so many forests you can chop down. Catastrophe, caused by capitalism, may not undermine the lifestyles of those who read this posting while they are alive, but the eventual outcome looks pretty clear.

In the series “Cosmos” Neil Degrasse Tyson talks about the horrible fate of the planet Venus, which originally had an atmosphere somewhat like that of the Earth today. Over the centuries the oxygen in the air was replaced by carbon dioxide, and thick clouds of sulfuric acid completely covered the planet. The atmosphere traps the small amount of energy from the sun that does reach the surface, along with the heat the planet itself releases. Venus is now toxic, with violent lightning, thunderstorms, and acidic land. No living creature could survive a day on it. To all global climate change deniers: Earth is going in that direction.
Do you really want to take the risk of it getting that bad?

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