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Growth! What is it good for? With apologies to Edwin Starr.

While Starr answered his own question, “War! What is it good for?” with the response “Absolutely nothing!”, Wes Rolley gives a more detailed answer to the question, “What good is growth?” in his column in the Morgan Hill Times.

One of his Green Talk columns, the essay includes this gem.

It should not be the automatic goal of our government to grow the economy nor should it be the goal of government to continue growing. Just as a cancer will eventually take all of our energy to sustain its insatiable expansion, so growing government will eventually take all of our monetary resources and growing the economy will eventually take all of our natural resources. The end result of all of this will be collapse and possibly the death of our civilization.

Rolley regularly blogs at California Greening.

One of Wes’ co-writers at Ca Greening, Alex Walker, offered this comment in response to the column:

This is exactly where the brilliance of the 10 Key Values of the Green Party comes into play. By standing for principles like social justice, respect for diversity, and grassroots democracy Along With ecological wisdom and sustainability, Greens offer a practical alternative to the obsolete “growth” ideologies of Democrats and Republicans. That is why, as I always say, Greens are not just “liberal Democrats in a hurry.” There really is a qualitative difference between us and a standard Democratic Party “liberal” hack like Sen. Diane Feinstein or even SF Mayor Gavin Newsom.

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2 Comments

  1. Growth and development are key elements of the human condition.

    The “stasis” economic model was long ago discredited. Beyond that, it defies common sense.

    The Green Party’s Transatlantic/Global New Deal is a realistic, pragmatic political platform for growing the economy with Green jobs in Rail, Solar, Wind, Geo Thermal.

    That’s the constructive path.

  2. Sure, “Growth” in terms of personal development and biological terms is normal. But what this is talking about is an economic and government policy of constant growth, which is insane.

    Example: you grow in population, so you grow more food to feed them, and you grow more industry to make things to satisfy them, and grow better health care so people live longer, then you have more people, and need more food, and more houses, and more stuff, which results in more people, more food, more stuff, etc, etc, onward to infinity and beyond.

    The weak link in this is that there is a finite amount of “resources” to support this ever upward spiral of need and growth. Earth is finite, there are only so many rocks and minerals. Trees, plants and animals grow and reproduce but the constantly expanding growth model consumes them faster than they can reproduce – which is the essence of the Unsustainable Model we live in today.

    Sustainability is about only consuming what can be reproduced so that future generations can enjoy the same satisfaction. Think about hunting: if you have a herd of deer and you kill them all to eat, you won’t have deer next year. If you kill and eat some deer, the rest reproduce and you can kill and eat some more deer the next year.

    I’m not a hunter though, so lets go with crops:

    If you plant corn and eat it all, you don’t have any seed to grow next years corn. If you save half for seed, and eat the other half, you have corn every year.

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