Friday, October 7, 2016

Is Economic Growth Immature?

Some excerpts from David Korten’s YES Magazine article on “Why The Economy Should Stop Growing -  And Just Grow Up”.

It is time to reframe the debate to recognize that we have pushed growth in material consumption beyond Earth’s environmental limits. We must now shift our economic priority from growth to maturity—meeting the needs of all within the limits of what Earth can provide.

Global GDP is currently growing 3 to 4 percent annually. Contrary to the promises of politicians and economists, this growth is not eliminating poverty and creating a better life for all. It is instead creating increasingly grotesque and unsustainable imbalances in our relationship to Earth and to each other.

Families are collapsing, and suicide rates are increasing.

Humans now consume at a rate 1.6 times what Earth can provide. Weather becomes more severe and erratic, and critical environmental systems are in decline.

We cannot, […], look to the economic institutions that created the imbalances to now create an economy that meets the essential needs of all in balanced relationship to a living Earth. Global financial markets value life only for its market price. And the legal structures of global corporations centralize power and delink it from the realities of people’s daily lives.

The step to maturity depends on rebuilding caring, place-based communities and economies and restoring to them the power that global corporations and financial markets have usurped.

Living organisms have learned to self-organize as bioregional communities that create and maintain the conditions essential to a living Earth community. We humans must take the step to maturity as we learn to live as responsible members of that community.

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