135: Why We Want a World Without Growth

February 13, 2019 by Joshua
in Podcast

People seem to have a hard time imagining a world without growth, specifically economic growth or population growth. There’s personal growth, but I’m talking about materially measurable growth.

People seem to believe that economic growth is necessary. I’ve looked and haven’t found any reasonable proof of its necessity.

People say you need inflation to keep motivating people, but I don’t see any founding for such a belief besides their unfounded, and apparently self-serving, idealism. We understand people and our motivations better than they used to when these economic theories started. Sadly, our financial and political systems keep operating on these flawed understandings.

On the contrary, I’ve found societies that have lived for tens to hundreds of thousands of years, stably, which disproves that you need growth.

Nobody thinks that if a thousand people were stuck on an island that had resources to sustain a thousand people indefinitely — imagining a time without satellites and our modern ability to find any group of that size anywhere — that those people couldn’t figure out how to sustain themselves on those resources.

Actually in such a situation, everyone sees growth beyond a thousand people would be a problem.

We are in such a situation, only a bigger island. Today’s post explores this view from several angles, including how it might guide living one’s individual life.

Read the transcript.

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