Facing up to the reality that growth is over


On 11 January this year, I wrote that growth is no longer possible. In fact, so much that is going on are symptoms of the shrinking global economy. 

President Putin wants to add the economy of Croatia to Russia’s economy, to make up for Russian economic shrinkage.  Thousands of refugees see the UK as a better place to be than in their own less well-off countries.  The UK health and care systems want more money.  The UK railway union and people generally are unable to keep up with increasing costs.  Threats of strikes are being heard.

All kinds of reasons are being given for these upsets, but no one dares to suggest that the underlying reason is the shrinking economy.

Maybe the likelihood of endless recession/shrinkage is just too awful to contemplate by everyone still hooked on a belief in endless growth.

Failure to admit the reality of no more growth must lead to increasing nastiness. Trade Unions, the NHS, and all kinds of bureaucracies will be fighting to protect their share of a shrinking cake. This is not to suggest that admitting that growth has ended will be any better. But at least we will know where we are headed and the current excuses will longer be acceptable. 

Nor will the shrinkage be fair. The better-off areas will become relatively much better off. The differences between areas are already becoming obvious, by observing the differences in discretionary spending.

We have yet to begin to imagine the other side of the coin. The possibility of a life-affirming ecological future as advocated by Jeremy Lent.

The time has come to face up to the reality of no more growth.

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Radix is the radical centre think tank. We welcome all contributions which promote system change, challenge established notions and re-imagine our societies. The views expressed here are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily shared by Radix.

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