Can the Economy Grow Forever

  • freeman

    Organizer
    April 11, 2023 at 4:22 am

    The myth of infinite growth under Capitalizm

    This video delves into the concept of exponential growth in the global economy and raises questions about its sustainability on a finite planet. It uses the example of a magical gold coin that doubles in value every 25 years to illustrate the power of exponential growth. This would lead to a trillion coins in 1,000 years and eventually outweigh the observable universe in just 4,600 years. The video points out that many economists believe that an eternally growing economy is necessary for improving people’s lives, and that if the global economy stops growing, people would fight more over the fixed amount of value that exists, rather than working to generate new value.

    However, the video also questions whether infinite growth is possible on a finite planet, particularly given that economic growth requires resources and energy. The inputs of the economy are labor, capital, and natural resources, while its output is value. Over the past 200 years, economies have become exponentially more efficient at producing value, but this growth has come at a cost. The global economy is driving climate change and destroying valuable natural environments on which all of us depend like soil, forests, and fisheries.

    The video explores two different perspectives on how to address the challenges posed by growth.

    The first perspective is that new technologies will continue to increase efficiency and generate more value with fewer resources, which will allow us to sustain economic growth indefinitely.

    The second perspective is that we should shift to a post-growth economy that prioritizes renewable energy, healthcare, and public transportation. This approach would require us to focus on improving what we really need, rather than assuming that the economy should grow indefinitely. In this economy, people would be less dependent on their jobs to earn their living or receive healthcare, making it more feasible to scale down production of things deemed less necessary.

    However, the shift to a post-growth economy raises other questions, such as who gets to define what is necessary and how to resolve disagreements. It also presents political challenges, like would it be possible to do away with entire industries.

    In conclusion, the video emphasizes the need to find a way to benefit everyone while taking care of the planet, whether through sustainable growth or a shift to a post-growth economy.

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