I feel I have been conned.
It seems we are expected to all take for granted the wisdom of Economic Growth and not look at the cost. The Conservative parties are running their current election campaign on the mantra: 'Jobs and growth' and we are expected to not question its deeper implications.
Dick Smith, said it on One Plus One (ABC TV program): "We are already using one and a half times the resources of the planet and every step toward growth increases the environmental debt."
Then I read, and I wish I could claim this as mine: "I used to live in a community, but I now live in an economy".
It does not take a lot of deductive power to work out who benefits from 'Economic Growth'. The whole economy is wealthier in money term, as we whittle away at our sustainability, but it is corporations that really benefit. A corporation needs to grow so that its shares rise in value. That is what investors are looking for, and the game is set up to benefit them, offering tax breaks for the gamblers but not for those in it for the dividend.Gamblers are the wasted spaces who steal value from our enterprises and add nothing. It might be instructive to ask why we are shown the stock market report every TV news bulletin, but there is no corresponding index of CO2 rise, or sustainability index to give is the full picture, that is, real costs to the global community of Growth.
Of course, living in Australia, we tend to presume that our standard of living,with good public schools, medical facilities, power that rarely fails, water we can drink from the tap, sewerage systems, adequate pensions for all, public transport that might be tight in the cities, but compared with just about anywhere else, is reliable and safe, is deserved.
But we are in for a bit of a shock. Well, we are already in the shock, but are being shielded by governments that have not produced men or women that can be both brave and truthful enough to tell it like it is and really lead.
When I read Brave New World and '1984' in 1956, we all thought automation would reduce our working hours and our main problem would be finding something to do. I am still waiting.
It seems that those who have jobs of consequence work longer hours than ever, while others, for many reasons, are struggling to find any work at all while we try to create new industries to absorb them.
Yesterday at the bank, which I rarely visit, this time to deposit a cheque, I was advised that I can deposit cheques at any ATM. My insistence on seeing a real person was received with the sort of smile one reserves for the village idiot and maybe that is what it deserved in our Brave New World..
Anyway, back to Economic Growth. I admit we need it if we are to 'remain competitive' and we need it to create more jobs to replace those lost as we automate banks, supermarket checkouts, railway ticketing, train driving, create music, art and literature with computers, have university lecture halls where five hundred students watch a video of a lecture. We are told these create 'efficiencies' in the economy and are therefor automatically good, but are they?
Maybe I am wrong, but it seems to me that having a meaningful job, supporting oneself and family, comes naturally and is necessary for for human health. So, solving problems for oneself,even if that means doing things the hard way,making mistakes and learning, leads us to a better place than surrendering totally to the economic mantra of never-ending growth, that is leading us to where extinction is probable.
This week or the next, we reach 400PPM of CO2. We have known this was coming at least forty years ago, but as I said in CULL: 'We know the problem, we have the technology to fix it, but we lack the wisdom to apply it.'
We have an election in a few weeks but there is nobody standing that gives me confidence in their ability to at least articulate the big picture. Then again, anyone who does will not be elected. We really are still the lotus eaters and because we choose ignorance over engagement, deserve what is coming. In desperation, I will again vote Green.