“Growth Isn’t Always Good”
“shitbit by Poop John the First”
How many times have we read in business magazines or heard on business programs that the consumer is the driving force behind our economy. Most economists estimate consumer spending as representing roughly two-thirds of GDP or Gross Domestic Product of the entire American economy. If consumer spending drops it is portrayed as an ominous sign of economic trouble ahead. Recession cannot be far behind. When it ticks up it is conversely touted as a leading indicator of economic improvement. This same reasoning is applied, in turn, to the world economy.
Consumers are constantly receiving the message that a healthy economy depends on their spending. Want more, buy more and spend more.
We are conditioned into thinking that growth is always good. Companies that are bigger each year, producing more of each product they sell and developing more products to sell are seen as healthy. Their stock price rises. Companies shrinking in size, losing market share, selling less of each product they sell and reducing their product selection are viewed as unhealthy. Their stock price falls.
We are also told that low unemployment is dependent on consumer spending. There must be a constant increase in demand if new jobs are to be created in sufficient numbers to absorb the new entrants coming into the job market.
Everywhere we look and listen slick marketers entice us to buy, buy and buy. Buy for greater prestige, buy for greater happiness, buy for better looks, buy for more convenience, and buy for more free time. Credit is pushed at every opportunity to enable us to enjoy the good life now and pay the price later. Everywhere the message is pushed – consumption is good for us, our neighbors, our country and for the world.
More people, more consumers, more products, more consumption, more growth, more job creation, more people, more consumers, more products, more consumption, more growth in an endless cycle of escalation. In this constant growth circle the concept of conserving is completely lost.
But the desirability of aspiring to a “constant growth” model deserves questioning when conservation is considered. The Church believes there is a conflict between desiring constant growth and our desire for a better quality of life and standard of living. The model does not stand up to ass-forward reasoning.