The fairytale of green economic growth

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Politicians, industry and media are telling us for decades the fairytale of green economic growth and sustainable consumption and many believe in this myth all to eagerly. However, it is a myth, a fairytale, a lie. Less is more!

“Autonomous, self-sufficient, and independent is not he who has much but he who needs little”, is a paraphrased quote by Niko Paech, a German economist, and he has hit the nail squarely on the head there.

He who needs a lot is dependent on others to produce for all those needs and let's face it, as I have said more than once already in other articles, most of our needs are but wants and not needs. He who needs little has very little dependence on others and also on the state (which ideally should be non-existent anyway) but that is exactly what the powers-that-be try to prevent, namely us not being dependent on it and on others. The economy, they say, would collapse, and with it our “way of life” if people stop buying all the crap that they do not need and they will stop buying all that crap once they realize that they actually do not need all that crap.

What do you need and how much is enough?

A good question, this, or two, in fact, I guess and the answer or answers to them depend on some factors, that be true.

The general answer to the first of what do you need a difficult on it is not really. You need food first of all and drink. This be followed by shelter and by clothing. It is a little like the list that is usually found as needs for survival.

To this list you might, much like for the list for survival, wish to add tools that you will need for performing the various tasks in the garden, around the home, in the kitchen, and for making a living.

So and now to “how much is enough?” question. How much then is enough? Enough is when you have what you need to live a comfortable life without having your life cluttered up with things. Do you really need two or three cars even as a family – or in some cases five? The true answer to this should be no. And in most cases the people who have two, three, four, or even five cars on the driveway have not actually bought those outright because they have the money to do so. They have bought them, much like their large houses, on credit and this credit often is still being paid off when the car is almost on its last legs.

I was brought up with the notion that if you haven't got the money (in cash or on a bank account) to buy something outright you don't buy it and I still live by this rule because when you buy on credit, whether it is your home or your car, or whatever, it is not actually yours until you actually have managed to pay off the credit.

The biggest problem in our society today is that people believe that they have to have what others can afford – or appear to be able to afford – and thus get into debts, often well over their heads. Don't get me wrong, please, I would love to have the cash to be able to buy a house for myself and own it, but then outright, and not having to rely on renting and on the whims of a landlord as to the amount of rent and as to whether any repairs are carried out or not, and such. But, maybe, I am digressing a little here.

Point is, though, that today we have been almost programmed to consume, to buy, buy, and then buy some more, and more often than not products that have also been programmed, literally, to break down after a short while so that we have to keep buying them again, and again. All in the name of “economic growth” and now we are being presented with the fairytale of “green economic growth” as the greatest thing since sliced bread (not that sliced bread is actually such a great thing).

The notion or perpetual economic growth, even so-called green economic growth, on a finite Planet just simply does not compute and instead of buying, literally, into this myth and fairytale we must stand against it and return to a simpler life where we live with less; where we make things rather than consuming things; were we grow at least some of our own food; etc. Consumption, whether of so-called green products or others can never be green and sustainable.

But we can become more green and sustainable by making rather than buying, by growing rather than consuming, and so forth, and many things that we need, with a little knowledge and some tools, can be made from scratch or from materials that others consider to be waste. There is no need to buy into the government and industry controlled message of “it's the economy” and that if you do not buy all those things you are harming the economy. If you have to buy things then make sure that it is of high quality, made to be repairable, handmade in the case of certain goods, and from local sources wherever possible.

Less is more and it is good for the Planet and for your wallet.

© 2016