I just came across a particularly dumb site called Growthbusters. They claim that a growing economy is a bad thing and that if we can just get our situation static or reduced even, the general situation of humans will improve.
"The first commandment of economics is: Grow. Grow forever. Companies get bigger. National economies need to swell by a certain percent each year. People should want more, make more, earn more, spend more - ever more.Of course Donna isn't too smart. Are there really enough computers in the world? Wouldn't it be good to increase those numbers? Do we really have enough accessible bandwidth? Or would it be good to increase the amount of bandwidth? Is everyone on the planet well fed? Or would it be a good idea to continue to increase the food supply? Is everyone on earth well housed or would it be a good idea to deploy more housing? Does every one in the world have access to enough energy supplies? Or would it be good to improve it?
The first commandment of the Earth is: enough. Just so much and no more. Just so much soil. Just so much water. Just so much sunshine. Everything born of the Earth grows to its appropriate size and then stops." - Donella Meadows Co-Author, Limits to Growth
What we know empirically is that population increases fastest in places that are the most economically deprived. That very fact was brought up in the comments to this Democratic Underground post.
One thing not brought up by the Enough! folks is that we can make more by making things smaller. Nanotechnology to the rescue. We can also make more with what we have by translating ideas into technology. For instance we can get more out of a pound of iron by making it stronger with various alloys. We can make plastics stronger by strengthening them with carbon nanotubes instead of glass. Concrete can be strengthened by reinforcing it with steel. We can make more food with the land we have by improving the productivity of our crops. Biotechnology to the rescue.
So what commodity are we really shortest of? What is our most glaring lack? Knowledge. We need to be doing more to grow our knowledge base. There is a place where growth can continue unhindered for centuries if not millennia. The results should support humans quite nicely.
Cross Posted at Classical Values