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Growth is the Enemy of Humankind

 

What is wrong with America?

Big question.

Simple answer.

We Americans have completely lost any sense of why a country, a society, and a government exist.

Politicians, lobbyists and corporate media talking heads, and far too many ordinary people, have accepted and are promoting as gospel the circular notion that it’s important to encourage business to grow so that people will be hired and the economy can grow. This specious argument is used to justify the weakening labor unions, the raising of taxes on workers while they are cut for companies and the rich, the cutting of earned benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare, the gutting worker safety and environmental safety regulations, and the elimination of regulation of activities like banking, corporate mergers and takeovers, pharmaceutical companies etc. In fact every government action that results in making life harder or more dangerous for ordinary working people or for the poor is defended on the basis that it is necessary so that business can make more profit and help the economy to grow.

Growing the economy, however, is not, or certainly should not, be the reason we have government, the reason we are a country, or the reason we are a society.

The Declaration of Independence had it right when, in its inspiring preamble, it aroused a nation of rebels by espousing the inalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Period.

And growth today poses a direct threat to all three of those stated goals.

Growth in all its aspects -- economic growth, growth in profits, growth in sales, growth of population, growth in income - is a threat to life. It has become clear that the imperative of ever more growth, the ethos and driving force of modern corporate capitalism, is leading to the destruction of the very biosphere that sustains life on this planet. It is a threat to liberty, too, because one country’s growth -- America’s -- requires the constant assault on those weaker countries that threaten us. The globe is a finite place, and at this point, with seven billion people crowded upon it, for one group -- that is to say 313 million Americans -- to prosper and grow, requires that 6.7 billion others give up something. In other words, for America to grow, it must be in a constant state of imperial domination and war, which also means a state of war at home, with all the concomitant restrictions on freedom, not to mention expropriation of revenue from the public (53 cents out of every tax dollar), that such a state inevitably entails.

Economic growth has become the enemy

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