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Prosperity Without Growth

Prosperity Without Growth

It is abundantly clear now that we humans must change our ways. We simply cannot persist, or exist, with an economy that is addicted to Growth when we are devouring our own home planet all the while.

I was struck by this writing from Fr. Richard Rohr that relates to our resistance to make the obvious changes in how we live.

“What the ego hates more than anything else is to change—even when the present situation is not working or is horrible. Instead, we do more and more of what does not work, as many others have rightly said about addicts. The reason we do anything one more time is because the last time did not really satisfy us deeply.” He cites the English poet W. H. Auden (1907–1973):

“We would rather be ruined than changed,
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.”

We have been led to believe that more and more material stuff will eventually fulfill us. Yet it doesn’t and so there is always an upgrade, a new model, or gadget that promises that this will “do it.”

We need to face up to and get over the con. We need to step out of the consumer culture; it is killing us. Likewise, we need to face up to the reality that “green” technology will not save us. The lie simply perpetuates “business as usual,” while Earth’s resources continue to be extracted and people exploited.

We can nurture the positive, unharmful ways that already fulfill our lives: connection with people, with nature and with animals, with meaningful work. To quote from Tim Jackson’s book, Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet.

“Prosperity is understood as a successful, flourishing or thriving condition: simply, a state in which things are going well for us.

We can have prosperity without growth.
We can change.
We must.


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