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Old 04-03-2013, 20:57   #11
Enoch Powell
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Just read this excerpt elsewhere which I think is very apt.

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Originally Posted by John Perkins in "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"

“Some would blame our current problems on an organized conspiracy. I wish it were so simple. Members of a conspiracy can be rooted out and brought to justice. This system, however, is fueled by something far more dangerous than conspiracy. It is driven not by a small band of men but by a concept that has become accepted as gospel: the idea that all economic growth benefits humankind and that the greater the growth, the more widespread the benefits. This belief also has a corollary: that those people who excel at stoking the fires of economic growth should be exalted and rewarded, while those born at the fringes are available for exploitation.

“The concept is of course, erroneous. We know that in many countries economic growth benefits only a small portion of the population and may in fact result in increasingly desperate circumstances for the majority. This effect is reinforced by the corollary belief that the captains of industry who drive this system should enjoy a special status, a belief that is the root of many of our current problems and is perhaps also the reason why conspiracy theories abound. When men and women are rewarded for greed, greed becomes a corrupting motivator. When we equate the gluttonous consumption of the earth's resources with a status approaching sainthood, when we teach our children to emulate people who live unbalanced lives, and when we define huge sections of the population as subservient to an elite minority, we ask for trouble. And we get it.”
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Old 04-03-2013, 21:02   #12
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The whole onus on growth is because that fact allows the government to borrow cheaply, with the recent mark down on UK debt our interest payments will start to creep up. That is until we get the magic 'growth' that will solve all our problems.
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Old 04-03-2013, 21:04   #13
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It's an important figure but yes, it's not the be all and end all.

I think it's taken focus since 2008 though because of the recession, and our journey in and out of it, GDP is the official benchmark for whether we are in recession or not so it's simple and understandable for the public to understand.
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Old 04-03-2013, 21:10   #14
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There isnt an onus on growth; its more that growth is the natural state of any economy.

Economies grew long before notions of fiat money, QE or neo endogenous growth theory.

Economies grow for the simple fact that people, over time, become more productive, ever since the first caveman realised a sharp stone was a better tool than a bare hand.

So economics doesnt *require* growth, it assumes it - because its normal.

When economies dont grow, its generally because somthing is holding them back - such as a lack of confidence stifling innovation, or worried consumers saving rather than spending (which in turn stifles innovation).

Equally when growth is higher than the norm its a sign that the preception of progress is outstripping actual progress, which in itself is a problem.
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Old 04-03-2013, 21:15   #15
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So you're suggesting that 3% growth is an immutable aspect of society?
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Old 04-03-2013, 21:16   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samara View Post
So you're suggesting that 3% growth is an immutable aspect of society?
I think historically its been nearer 2%.

And no, its not immutable. But its certailnly normal - with deviations being down to clearly identifiable external factors.
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Old 04-03-2013, 21:17   #17
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My point is that economist dont 'demand' economic growth any more than oceanographers 'demand' the tides.
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Old 04-03-2013, 21:18   #18
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Economists say we need growth - they don't care what sort of growth or whether it will make anybody in the country other than some business owners any better off.

Oh and they also don't care whether it is sustainable - because economists assume growth can go on infinitely, even in a finite sized world with limited resources.

Economists assume that when the price of energy (for example) gets too high, alternatives will be found which are cheaper and better - because this has always happened before. But just because something has always happened doesn't mean it will continue to happen.

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Old 04-03-2013, 21:22   #19
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Assuming that growth is natural, then the problem is that the government are attacking the symptoms
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Old 04-03-2013, 21:23   #20
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Growth has been going on for the entirety of human history. Why should the 2nd decade of the 21st century be the point it stops?
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