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by Derek J. Wilson, April 2005



Deirdre Kent has ‘holed in one’ (Letters, April 16 2005). Growth indeed is killing us. Read any newspaper, listen to radio, watch TV, and it soon becomes clear — according to politicians, economists and business executives — that our well-being depends on growth. This traditional view believes that the ‘growth’ economy can continue with impunity to feed on earth’s natural capital instead of living on the interest. Technical or economic ‘fixes’ without changing the underlying causes will not solve basic problems but will lead only to bankruptcy.

We have been seduced by and are living under an all-powerful grossly dysfunctional global economic system, an exceptionally pathological mantra of perpetual growth at all costs. The “ideology of the cancer cell” is an absolute impossibility on our finite Earth. Just as a continuously growing cancer eventually destroys its life-support systems by destroying its host, this continuously expanding global economy is surely and mercilessly destroying its host — Earth’s ecosystems.

The New World Order has brought about enormous destruction through the wholesale promotion of consumption, militarism and waste and has promoted a strong desire for the same destructive life-styles in the developing world which it has already overwhelmingly exploited and degraded, has and led to the kind of global poverty described by Christopher Richards as “characterised by feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, shame, depression and despair as well as disillusionment and sometimes aggression and anger.”

The whole ‘growth’ syndrome — the major source of our rapidly worsening global situation — most urgently demands the closest scrutiny, for as Herman Daly, until recently senior economist with the development department of the World Bank reports: “It’s really been only in the last 200 years that growth has been a part of our lives [since the start of the Industrial Revolution]. Prior to that, on an annual basis, growth was negligible. The idea that we must either grow or die is just not supported by history and I think that the contrary is much more likely: if we continue to grow, then surely we will die.”

How can our civilisation prevent itself committing suicide?

Derek J. Wilson