Growth and No Growth

matrix animOne has to question how our great ‘consumer capitalist’ society that has been alive since the end of World War 2 has created a national UK public sector net debt of £1,487.7 billion (80.4% of GDP) as of April 2015, excluding public sector banks (PSND ex). Divided between a UK population of 64.1 million this is around £23,250 of debt for every man woman and child, increasing every year. Surely its time for a bit of a rethink? Presented with this evidence can’t we say that capitlism has failed?

same old suits

same old suits

One way to a true state of wealth is found by simply accepting as individuals that we have ‘enough’.

Yet the very basis of consumer capitalism is that we can never have enough. We exist to service our ‘economy’ by consuming and by being ‘hungry ghosts’, never satisfied, always yearning for something more. And the three main parties all exist to tend this machine, as does the majority of our mass media. The problem is compounded when a government becomes so impotent that it is unable to achieve anything meaningful anyway. Once again we are storing up the problems for the future.

One example is the question of energy. Energy drives the washing machines, TV’s cars and all the consumer durables we purchase. Even the best cars are still only 20% efficient. We are still using 240 volt systems in our households when many electrical devices can run at a far lower voltage – like 12volt LED lighting systems, TV’s and their attachments, games consoles and computers. We could save a fortune on energy through clever frugalism instead of spending a fortune to keep up with unquestioned ‘demand’, but we just waste all this energy because its good for the economy. The issue of energy efficiency is hardly touched on yet.

In nature, nothing is wasted. Leaves, excess fruit, even wild animals who have died, leech back into the ground to fertilise it, creating perfect cycles like that of sun and rain, day and night, summer and winter.

Our economy, managed by government and seemingly their ‘raison d’être’ thrives on waste and built-in obsolescence. It wastes materials and resources in creating incredibly inefficient machines and tons of health destroying plastic. It wastes and exploits its people. It produces mountains of rubbish polluting the earth until the end of time. It poisons the skies, the rivers, streams and oceans to feed the emptiness of the ‘hungry ghosts’ it breeds and the pockets of the wealthy.

Our economy destroys peoples’ lives and keeps them enslaved and ignorant, spending their time in empty and meaningless activities, finding distraction only in leisure activities that once again serve the economic system. The system has become a monster, a leviathan, trundling its way towards a precipice of environmental breakdown. And yet there was still no realistic option than to vote for just another aspect of the shadow puppets who service its machinery.

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