We glorify exponential growth. Our current system plans to expand the money supply by 2 percent to 3 percent more than a stable money requires.
The economy must grow to accommodate the ever-growing money supply. This means activity that uses money must increase. The population must grow and everyone must spend more and more. There is constant push to grow in size and consumption.
How many times do you hear leaders, business people and the media wax enthusiastic about how fast the economy is growing? It is all about growth.
This is a profound mistake. We must stop growing!
We live on a lovely little blue ball in space. Exponential growth is not possible in a fixed system; every resource on planet earth is limited. Earth can go on without us, but humans cannot go on devouring the earth’s resources and survive. The unsustainable consumption of our limited resources is destroying us. We are behaving like a blight on the Earth, and, like any blight, we will die off when we have consumed everything. Thinking otherwise is blind to nature and history.
There is no living system that can grow exponentially forever. It will use up its resources, smother in its own waste, and devour its young. Continuous growth, like a cancer, creates a death spiral that in our current money system must be ignored, because to pay attention could cause the expanding economy to stutter and shut down. Not only does it not need to be this way, this is a catastrophic choice.
Yes, we can reuse, recycle and invent. We can grow smarter. We can innovate and increase productivity. We can get creative and make less do more. But, for our own survival, we must figure out how to have a flourishing economy that does not grow in size and consumption. It is possible, and we can choose to do it. But it is not a choice under our current money creation system. Next time a politician says he knows how to grow the economy, say, “STOP!” Ask how he plans to stop or reduce growth AND create a sustainable prosperity. That is the true challenge.
But given our current system, what must happen for the money supply to continue to grow exponentially? All of the following will increase: