Nevertheless, many continue to believe we can neither survive nor prosper unless we grow by invading another’s marketplace, securing their resources, and absorbing expanding populations. As a result, we seek to force trade, win economic contests by colonizing others, ever-increase our share of distant economies, and manufacture a global "interdependency" while labor’s clout, democracy, ecology and balance are destroyed.
Today, no local autonomy, democratic decision, or national or cultural freedom is to interfere with capital’s effectively-forced "interdependency" dictated by GATT/WTO and growthism. Not only is this dogma imperial in nature but it also admits no qualification to process or any measurement of the character and quality of what is growing or lost to per capita declines. Indeed, the quality of life is expelled from this obsession with numerical increase.
Measures of real wealth, of per-capita space and freedom, remain taboo as they demonstrate the lie of what has become no less than a religio-economic theology of growth-to-ruin. As a process without limits, growthism has no relationship to the most important qualities in our lives, much less social equity, democracy, human rights, factor balance, or environmental sustainability. As a goal and good measured only by increases in widgets and beings, a short-term, quality-less, profit and per-capita ruin becomes an end unto itself.
Corrupt values and dismal measures drive a corporate need divorced from effective freedom, democracy, and eco-sustainability. Growthism has become the intellectual equivalent of perpetual-motion machines - i.e., one driving a pseudo economics and feeding an empty ideology meant to give the illusion of progress as predation and per-capita ruin proceed. With capital’s mis-measures we then progressively destroy all real wealth and avoid issues of factor parity, natural freedom, and population balance.
With empty statistics, we may then decline in real terms as we "grow" to profit stateless corporations. By counting population increase as "growth" rather than per-capita decline, growth is not only synonymous with progressive ruin but devoid of reference to quality, purpose, justice, equity, natural right, ecology, and root estate. As a result, "growth" means incomes and disparities may increase, and societal power of capital expand, while the very quality of life, and per-capita space and freedom, decline.
As a quantity-driven faith without relation to equity, balance, or the condition of one’s community and environment, growthism lacks context. As such, it is doomed to produce social and ecological ruin. After centuries of "growth," our enclosure, desperation, and disparities are greater than ever - a clear indication we are not only moving in the wrong direction but have no other motive force or ethic.
Despite its failures, growthism remains the dominant shibboleth of our time, one demanding genuflection from capital’s economists and politicians. Wherever enclosure and factor imbalance prevail, rights of the penultimate individual, and powerful possessors of capital, will become supreme. Few community rights and majority powers are not overruled by the influence of money as powerful individuals, mega-corporations, and big banks become nearly, if not completely, omnipotent in society.
In this setting, without balancing principles and forces, we are destined to grow disenfranchisement, discontent, social pathology and eco-ruin. Packed like rats into ever-shrinking cubicles, and driven to compete for capital’s growth and benefit, this dismal ethic must soon collapse of its own absurdity and excess. In the interim, growthism remains the force in our lives due to enclosure, capital’s supremacy and extortion of labor, and a host of western, patriarchal, religio-economic, values from an age with little relation to our own. We are drowning in dogma, both religious and economic.
From Chapter 7,
Cap-Com, The Economics Of Balance