Living Without Economic Growth

Year of the Snake Reflection: #8

As economies all around the world faced crisis and austerity in 2012, might 2013 be the year we learn to live without economic growth? Here, Charles Eisenstein remarks on the need to detach our notion of progress from material acquisition, and shares his observations from his travels around austerity stricken Europe.


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I never usually write comments. I usually just read them but i never write.

I'm so restless. I want real, physical, change... We need to rally together.. All the occupiers, all the activists, the anti-consumers, the socialists, the hippies and hipsters and the who ever' s. Too long will it take to change the overly corrupt countries we live in. We need to act now. we need need to collectively purchase land and start a new country. A country with our idea of government, with our ideals, a green/environmental country. Reclaim and redefine our society, rewrite our constitutions. A country that its mere existence stands as f*ck-u to corporate greed and capitalism

And it will be a model for the rest of the world.

And it will be glorious.

I'd like to hear more practical suggestions. I suspect that this guy either grew up wealthy and doesn't actually know what its like to not have food or medicine for your kids and/ or he has no kids. I too would love to see an economy based on minimalism and sharing and more leisure time for all with more acoustic (unplugged) , poetry, story telling, meditation. I aree that we don't need all this stuff, at least those of us who have way too much. Actually a large proportion of people do not have enough to eat and are living in misery of losing children to disease, women living with no protection from epidemic rape and dying in child birth. I'd like to hear someone talking about how we can change to less materialism but the whole world having enough to eat, clean water and good medicine.

Eisenstein isn't saying anything new...he's just economically inarticulate in this video. He doesn't flesh out the relationship between economic growth, population growth, inflation and the standard of living. A recession isn't when the economy stops growing but when it starts shrinking. A stable-state economy is neither recession nor expansion but, because of population growth, the average standard of living falls.

Leaving aside the idea that growth may have limits predicated by our dependence on finite resources, it is immediately checked by the unwillingness of consumers to carry previous debt loads and their lack of incentives as laborers to strive to optimize productivity since they no longer rewarded for their efforts.

For a good intro to our likely future check out Kunstler's 'The Long Emergency.'

To quote a man who spent his entire life fighting for what he believed in, an unrivaled activist and humanitarian who continues the fight even today at the ripe old age of 93...

“The best thing you can do is make up your mind that you will be living in an unpleasant world for much of your lives. This is not pessimism; it’s maturity—the beginning of wisdom.”

Pete Seeger


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