Politics & Economics

Watching our politicians, economists and journalists arguing about the best, quickest least painful way to restore the world economy to what it was a year or two ago is intensely depressing.

Maybe we should borrow and spend, or maybe we should save and repay. Maybe we should prop up some industries, or all, or none. Maybe we should impose import tarrifs to protect our local producers, or not.

There is no way the public can judge who is right, in the previous crises all of these options have been tried and in the end the economy recovered, but no-one really knows why or how. Nor can we trust the experts who got us into this in the first place, but in the end it doesn’t really matter. The blunt fact is the previous economic and political system was unsustainable, restoring it it like patching up an old car to squeeze it through one more MOT test. Sooner or later the floor will fall out.

I don’t have a slick answer, and I don’t trust anyone who says he has but as a starting point I want politicians and economists to acknowledge that a system that relies on continuous growth is nothing more than the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time. Sooner or later it runs out of resources.

It may be unpalatable but I think it’s about time we started planning a system based on  shrinkage. Fewer people, less manufacturing, less agriculture, less mining, less travel, less energy consumption. I want to hear politicians debating ways of reducing birth rates and figuring out how to manage a declining population. I want them to encourage emigration from over populated, under-resourced regions and stop pandering to out-dated nationalism.

I’m not advocating a return to the dark ages, I want to see the highest possible standard of living for everyone. To achieve that we are going to have to reduce the human population worldwide and share out our resources more equitably.

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