How Do We Reclaim Control Of Our Lives When the Economy Looms So Grim?

Lambert: On the ideas of David Fleming for a “post-growth” society. (“I’m gonna cut the soles off my shoes, sit in a tree, and learn to play the flute!” For a review of David Fleming’s Lean Logic at Naked Capitalism, see here.

By Shaun Chamberlin, managing director of the Fleming Policy Centre, involved with the Transition Network since its inception, having co-founded Transition Town Kingston and authoring the movement’s second book, The Transition Timeline, in 2009. Originally published at Open Democracy

As my friend David Fleming once wrote, conventional economics ‘puts the grim into reality.’

Something of a radical, back in the 1970s Fleming was involved in the early days of what is now the Green Party of England and Wales. Frustrated by the mainstream’s limited engagement with ecological thinking, he urged his peers to learn the language and concepts of economics in order to confound the arguments of their opponents.

By the time I met Fleming in 2006, he had practised what he preached and earned himself a PhD in Economics. But he never lost his aversion for the ‘economism’ that presumes that matters of public policy, employment, ecology and culture can be interpreted mainly in terms of mathematical abstractions.

Worse, he noted that even the word ‘economics’ has the power to make these life-defining topics seem impenetrable, none-of-our-business and, of all things, boring. Fleming’s work was all about returning them to their rightful owners—those whose lives are shaped by them, meaning all of us.

Fleming was a key influence on the birth of the New Economics Foundation and Transition Towns movement, but it was only in the aftermath of his sudden death in 2010 that I discovered the breadth of the powerfully-different vision of economics that underpinned his life. On his home computer I discovered a manuscript for the book he had been preparing to publish after thirty years’ work entitled Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It.

Reminding us that our present growth-based market economy has only been around for a couple of hundred years (and is already hitting the buffers), Fleming’s lifework looks to the great majority of human history for insight: “We know what we need to do,” he writes, “We need to build the sequel, to draw on inspiration which has lain dormant, like the seed beneath the snow.”

What he found was that—in the absence of a perpetually-growing economy—community and culture are key. He quotes, for example, the historian Juliet Schor’s view of working life in the Middle Ages:

“The medieval calendar was filled with holidays …These were spent both in sober churchgoing and in feasting, drinking and merrymaking …All told, holiday leisure time in medieval England took up probably about one third of the year. And the English were apparently working harder than their neighbors. The ancien régime in France is reported to have guaranteed fifty-two Sundays, ninety rest days, and thirty-eight holidays. In Spain, travelers noted that holidays totaled five months per year.”

Reading this took me back to a childhood fed by TV programmes like the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World, which had informed me that by now robots would be doing all the menial work, leaving humans free to relax and enjoy an abundance of leisure time. So it came as a shock to realise that the good folk of the Middle Ages were enjoying far more of it than we are in our technologically-advanced society. What gives? Fleming explains,

“In a competitive market economy a large amount of roughly-equally-shared leisure time – say, a three-day working week, or less – is hard to sustain, because any individuals who decide to instead work a full week can produce for a lower price (by working longer hours than the competition they can produce a greater quantity of goods and services, and thus earn the same wage by selling each one more cheaply). These more competitive people would then be fully employed, and would put the more leisurely out of business completely. This is what puts the grim into reality.”

So in an economy like ours, a technological advance that doubles the amount of useful work a person can do in a day becomes a problem rather than a benefit. It tends to put half the workers out of work, turning them into a potential drain on the state.

Of course, in theory all the workers could just work half-time and still produce all that is needed, much as Tomorrow’s World predicted. But in practice they are often afraid of having their pay cut, or losing their jobs to a stranger who is willing to work longer hours, so they can’t take the steps needed to solve their collective economic problems and enjoy more leisurely lives. Instead, people are kept busy partly through what anthropologist David Graeber memorably characterised as “bullshit jobs.”

How, then, can we feed, house and support ourselves without working as relentlessly as we do today? Fleming’s work explores the answer, making a rigorous case that we need to get beyond mainstream economists’ ideas of minimising ‘spare labour’ if we are to sustain a post-growth economy. This ‘spare labour’ is what most of us would call spare time—a welcome part of a life well lived rather than a ‘problem of unemployment.’

He highlights that the holidays of former times were far from a product of laziness. Rather they were, in an important sense, what men and women lived for. ‘Spare time’ spent in feasting, performing, collaborating and merrymaking together formed the basis of community bonding and membership. Those shared cultural ties hold people together, even in the absence of economic growth and full-time employment. When productivity improves, as one of his readers put it, “in our system you have a problem, in Fleming’s system you have a party.”

Under the current economic paradigm, the only way to keep unemployment from rising to the point where the population can’t be supported is through endless economic growth, which thus becomes an obligation. So we are damned if we grow and damned if we don’t, since endless growth will eventually cross every conceivable biophysical boundary and destroy the planet’s ability to support us. That’s why, in practice, we just keep growing and cross our fingers that somehow it will all work out. As Fleming writes:

“The reduction of a society and culture to dependence on mathematical abstraction has infantilised a grown-up civilisation and is well on the way to destroying it. Civilisations self-destruct anyway, but it is reasonable to ask whether they have done so before with such enthusiasm, in obedience to such an acutely absurd superstition, while claiming with such insistence that they were beyond being seduced by the irrational promises of religion.”

Technological fixes do not help, as we are all discovering to our cost. We are already working ever harder, and with ever more advanced technologies, yet the hope of a better future dwindles day-by-day. Take heart though, for when the current paradigm transparently provides nothing but a dead end, we can be sure that we are on the cusp of a fundamental shift.

Fleming provides a radical but historically-proven alternative: focusing neither on the growth or de-growth of the market economy, but the huge expansion of the ‘informal’ or non-monetary economy—the ‘core economy’ that allows our society to exist, even today. This is the economy of what we love: of the things we naturally do when not otherwise compelled, of music, play, family, volunteering, activism, friendship and home.

At present, this core non-monetary economy is much weakened, pushed out and wounded by the invasion of the market. Fleming’s work demonstrates that nurturing it back to health is not just some quaint and obsolete sharing longing but an absolute practical priority.

The key challenge of today, for Fleming, is to repair the atrophied social structures on which most human cultures have been built; to rediscover how to rely on each other rather than on money alone. Then life after the painful yet inevitable end to the growth of the monetary economy will start to seem feasible again, and our technological progress can bring us the fruits it always promised.

Lean Logic finally reached posthumous publication with Chelsea Green Publishing in September 2016, alongside a paperback version edited by me called Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy. Needless to say, both books are deeply controversial, overthrowing as they do the central paradigm of our economy. As the writer Jonathon Porritt said at a launch event for the books last month, “there is no conventional political party anywhere in the world that doesn’t have economic growth as the underpinning foundation, but David Fleming developed unique, astonishing ideas about resilience and good lives for people without growth.”

It’s increasingly clear that this is the conversation we all need to have, and Fleming’s compelling, grounded vision of a post-growth world is rare in its ability to inspire optimism in the creativity and intelligence of human beings to nurse our economy, ecology and culture back to health. I am proud to have played a part in bringing it to the world; in fact, it might just be the best thing I have done.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

43 comments

  1. habenicht

    Great post.

    I think about these themes a lot and this is a helpful way of framing the underlying concepts (and explaining them to others).

  2. fresno dan

    The thing of it is, we have had growth except for recessions every 10 years or so. But somewhere along the line, due to the fact that we can never speak of “DISTRIBUTION” of this growth, we get the completely artificial idea that the lower income can ONLY be helped by higher growth. Economics has a nice scam going – only if the rich get much richer can anything be done for the 90%.

    And we’re told (by the rich) that this is just “natural” – a law of nature….Yeah, back when the church owned everything the priests told us it was God who wanted it that way. Now the economic priests tell us its nature that wants it this way…

    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GDPC1

    1. Carla

      Here’s an antidote to fred: http://www.steadystate.org

      The 15-page list of notables who have endorsed the imperative for a steady state economy includes E.O. Wilson, Jane Goodall, Maude Barlow, Herman Daly, and Wendell Berry (list available for download at http://www.steadystate.org/act/sign-the-position/endorsements-and-signatures/view-notable-signatures).

      Anyone can sign the Steady State Position Statement here:
      http://www.steadystate.org/act/sign-the-position/read-the-position-statement/

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      I am increasingly of the view that we conflate two entirely different ideas, or that we don’t emphasize enough that there are two fundamentally different critiques, when we challenge economists’ reliance on “growth.” I’m not opposed to the notion of ‘steady-state’ economics. But it seems presumptuous TSTL for Americans (famously 5% of the world’s population using 25% of the world’s resources), really ‘first-world’ers in general, to say, “OK, no more growth and time to stay within in our limits, and by the way I’m good with what I’ve got.” So I think there is a lot more work that has to be done to make that concept appropriate in a reality-based sense.

      Whereas, even though Marxists have often tended toward productivist notions of economic growth that share many problematic features of capitalist growth, there is a deconstruction of capitalist, and neoclassical depictions of, economic growth that is not by definition anti-community or anti-planet. While the fundamental issues are power and control, they are perhaps most easily understood through measurement – specifically what capitalists and their economists choose to measure as growth and what they choose to ignore or take for granted. Why is paying someone else to take care of your kid considered ‘economic activity,’ a provider of ‘jobs,’ a contributor to economic growth, but raising your own kid is not? Actually, working at McDonald’s while you pay someone to raise your kid counts as two jobs, while raising your own kid counts as no jobs, even though the second is in virtually all cases a socially superior outcome. (True, someone else might take that job at McD’s, so the net might only be one job. But with less demand for that job, perhaps it would have to pay more and be a better job.) If you extend this line of thinking through elder care, and then family- and community-based health care (‘health care’ in the widest, not specifically industrial sense of the word), one could imagine substantially more healthy (in the widest sense) families, communities, and societies with substantially lower carbon footprints than our current predicament.

      One question is, if one took current measures of paid ‘care work’ as a baseline for what counts as ‘work,’ and then provided similar levels of compensation to those currently performing similar unpaid work (and I would advocate for higher pay for carers with a closer social bond to those they care for, because in knowing the ‘patient’ better they are more ‘skilled’), what implications would that have for ‘the economy’ and the society in general?

      (Similarly, as many others have noted, we need new economic categories that allow us to identify negative economic activity (much finance, deforestation, pollution, waste, de-humanization, etc.) that subtracts from standard measures of well-being rather than being included in them.)

      There are many different ways to think about this, not all positive. Commodification vs. de-commodification is a long-running discussion in Marxist circles, and one could imagine arguments in favor of extending the latter to many more spheres of society. I think many supporters of BIG are de-commifiers at heart. Even in our current context, massively improving and extending paid leave is a nod in this direction. OTOH, one could also easily imagine to make kids the one paying their parents to raise them, and going even deeper into debt, on the same logic of paying for college – your parents are working to improve your social capital and earning potential and so you should pay them out of your future earnings.

      Relatedly, I am not opposed to alternative measures of social well-being, such as ‘happiness indexes.’ But until we are able to directly challenge capitalist and neoclassical hegemony over what counts as paid work (i.e. ‘useful economic activity’) and directly address the economic cost of social ‘bads,’ there will be no taking the foot off the accelerator of economic growth, even as we plunge Thelma-and-Louise-style over the cliff.

      1. Carla

        Brilliant comment, LiW.

        And I believe that at least several, if not all, of the “notable signers” listed in my comment above have actually done some of that challenging of capitalist and neoclassical hegemony for which you are calling.

        I absolutely agree that “there is a lot more work that has to be done to make that [steady state economy] concept appropriate in a reality-based sense.”

        But we have to start somewhere, so I’m trying to spread the word about http://www.steadystate.org

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think we can continue with “growth” maybe not indefinitely but certainly for a very long time to come. Just remove the giant parasitic vampire squid that drains away all of the blood, 8 guys holding 50% of the world’s wealth, I mean gimme a break you don’t have to be a dreaded pinko Commie to think that is just hideously wrong. The more we talk about that and the less we talk about how great it is for us all to cut back and move into Mom’s basement the better. It’s US versus THEM and there are very very few of THEM.

      2. redleg

        Fantastic comment.

        Piling on:
        All of the artists that I personally know, and I know many, make their living doing something other than their art. Even the professional musicians get paid playing someone else’s music so they can make their own.
        So the thing that gives an artist’s life meaning- creating art- and contributes to or even defines a local or regional culture doesn’t count as work, but the day job does. The cost of making the art not only doesn’t count as a job, it counts as a drain of resources in terms of both time and treasure.

      3. DarkOptimism

        As author of the above piece and editor of Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy, I can confirm that Left in Wisconsin’s comment is exactly what it’s all about.

        As Fleming writes therein:

        The early shocks of descent may leave little room for choice: just one tolerable option could be a fine thing, and that may be as much as most of us can hope for, at least for the time being. In the mature settlements that could follow, however, the tyranny of decisions being made in lock-step with competitive pricing will be an ancient memory. There will be time for music.

  3. HBE

    I had never heard of the author or the book, I will definitely be ordering it. It’s helpful to have a reminder now and again, that our society, and whole way of living and being is a historical aberration and there are many better options.

    It also made me smile while reading to think about someone like Krugman reading this book and twisting themselves into pretzels to dispute it (reality).

    I imagine it would be one very complex pretzel but if anything could manage it, it would be a serious of krugfacts.

  4. Moneta

    Didn’t residents keep on doing whatever they were doing when the Vesuvius erupted?

    Humans need a good dose of delusion to be mentally healthy. Perma-optimism is humanity’s biggest challenge.

    1. optimader

      Didn’t residents keep on doing whatever they were doing when the Vesuvius erupted
      Briefly

  5. Steve H.

    : What he found was that—in the absence of a perpetually-growing economy—community and culture are key.

    There is a distinct difference from an ordinary pastoral in ‘As You Like It’ – the shepherds do not own their sheep, and specific reference is made to the rural displaced, set to walk and die on the roads. The policy was simply industrialized post-WWII, with tracts of suburbs in company towns, separated from the competing allegiances of extended family and culture.

    The problem is an old one. The successful solutions are not well publicized. The equivocations of economicysts are now being revealed, and needs be drawn and quartered for the metastases they encourage.

  6. jerry

    Soo.. we’re working more now than the middle ages. Great! Good job america!

    As a dispirited milennial myself, it seems that the best option for me is to cut loose, live somewhere cheap and warm, enjoy nature and some friendly neighbors and watch this apocalypse unfold. I sure as hell am not grinding my life away in the corporate trenches for ever-diminishing purchasing power, give me a job at the grocer! What’s that they’ve all been automated? Oh, damnit.

    1. optimader

      As a dispirited milennial myself, it seems that the best option for me is to cut loose, live somewhere cheap and warm, enjoy nature and some friendly neighbors and watch this apocalypse unfold.

      Also the case for a reasonably affluent babyboomer

    2. james brown

      I actually did that. At 55, seven years ago now, I got disgusted and bailed out. I closed my business (I actually gave it to my last two employees who wanted to keep going), sold my couple of real estate holding in the city (my house and my business property) and moved out to the sticks to brood and live cheaply. Turns out the living is cheap but there’s been no brooding. Although I had a ball in business, until the last two years, I’ve never had this much fun and contentment with life. I’m a two bit hobby farmer or homesteader, if you will. You say that flippantly, as I did, but bailing out and disconnecting from a Madison Ave determined lifestyle can actually be quite rewarding. It’s not for everyone but it’s been a very fulfilling experience for me. Good luck.

      1. BSzasz

        Good for you ! It is so rare to hear someone say that they have enough – that they don’t need MORE to be happy

    3. different clue

      Not all. Some stores still pay people to do jobs. The more shoppers who confine their shopping to stores which pay people to do jobs, the more jobs will remain in existence for people to do in stores. Perhaps a job can be found in a store where you still see people doing jobs in the store.

      The more people refuse to use robo-checkout, the more stores are forced to keep paying for cashiers to cash people out. So perhaps people who can still afford to buy food and other things in stores should only patronize the live-checker lines in those stores, so other people who might want a cashier job can perhaps get one when a present cashier leaves his/her job.

  7. Susan the other

    I had a weird dream about capitalism in reverse. Where we came to understand money as just another form of energy and distributed it to people regularly so nobody needed to sell their labor and the economy didn’t need to grow to make profits. Instead of selling products/labor, everyone used their money to make things we need and then paid again to give their product to someone: “I’ll give you the cost of making this naturally cured ham if you will please take it and enjoy it.” And we gave our money back to the environment the same way: here, please take all of our energy and help to repair yourself. Or, we’ve spent our energy making these sustainable homes, and we can offer your family $20K to take one and live in it. Sounds so nutty. I guess it would still work to form a partnership, pool our money, and build a state of the art drug research lab. And pay people to use these excellent drugs. Never mind.

  8. Anna Zimmerman

    Thanks for this great post, more like it please! It’s no good endlessly criticising the status quo…we all need to spend more time discussing the alternatives and moving ourselves forward.

  9. Cat Burglar

    During my time as a retail worker it struck me how much of effective customer service was really an unpaid use of our spontaneous urge to give aid to other people, to respond to their needs as human beings. We were often in the position of spiking the SOP of the business to get them what they wanted. It hit me then how much the ostensible money economy is a free rider on the world of our human non-economic lives, or is like free clean water used in an industrial process. My co-workers and I sometimes became bitter about the low wages, and stopped paying attention to people, but we couldn’t keep it up for long, because you couldn’t feel good for long about taking it out on innocent people, and eventually even the bitterest co-workers would encounter someone they just had to respond to as another person. We all figured out, sooner or later, that the connection was the enduring value in the job. This book, Lean Logic has twigged to this reality underlying the economy.

    1. Mel

      Hmmm. Resonates strongly with the bricklaying scene in Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch (about working in a prison camp.) I’ve got to see tomorrow if the bookstore can get Lean Logic.

  10. Anon

    Something about this discussion reminds me of Stewart Brand and the “Whole Earth Catalog”.

  11. Oregoncharles

    I think it’s relevant that careful observation of hunter-gatherer primal societies found that they generally work the equivalent of a 3 or 4 day week. It tends to be every day, since they have to eat, but not all that long.

    One reason is that they can’t accumulate, since they’d have to carry it around with them. So once they have what they need, their time is spent telling stories, drawing or other crafts, and having sex. Feasting depends on the blessings of nature – when they manage to kill a large animal (not all that often – majority of their food is “gathered” by the women) or find a large berry patch.

    Still, that’s the human norm. Judging by the data from the Middle Ages, people drift back to it if given the chance.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Afterthought:
      An extreme example were the Northwest Coast Indians, living in an extremely lush environment where the fish came up the rivers and flung themselves at them. They were hunter-gatherers, but built permanent homes (which could be disassembled and moved, if necessary), lived in fairly large villages, and created truly fantastic art that served elaborate performances during the winter – when nobody wanted to be outside too much. They also turned giving stuff away into an art form, the potlatch..

      Mind you, they also acted like Vikings, raiding down the coast in their large boats, even taking slaves. So they aren’t a perfect model.

      We usually think of hunter-gatherers in severe environments like desert Australia or the deep Amazon jungle, since they were the last ones left; but some lived in much more favorable places. Another example would be the Plains Indians, after the introduction of horses.

      1. SoCal rhino

        Living in a lush environment where the food flung itself at them, they carried on like Viking raiders including enslaving neighbors. Because markets?

  12. Tim

    In an Utopian world the hardest least desirable jobs pay the most. CEOs make minimum wage while the burger flippers being whipped by managers to hurry up are raking it in…but do we have enough unambitious intelligent people to keep the world turning…

    Socialism will always have to be balanced by the carrot and stick to minimize the mis-allocation of resources.

  13. Michael C.

    Thus we can see reasons behind the high priority capitalistic societies put on individualism, privatization, the self, the breaking down of “the commons,” and fearing other groups, such as Hispanics, Jews, or Muslims, at one time Catholics too as in the US. The whole mode of social “we’re all in this together” thinking is antithetical to it’s reason for being. We need to think “bigly” with a whole new paradigm (or is it an ancient paradigm) on how we view the world, and we better do so quickly.

  14. Doug

    Reading this article reminded me of a passage from Peacock’s “Headlong Hall” that has always struck me as amazingly prescient:

    . . . these improvements, as you call them, appear to me only so many links in the great chain of corruption, which will soon fetter the whole human race in irreparable slavery and incurable wretchedness: your improvements proceed in a simple ratio, while the factitious wants and unnatural appetites they engender proceed in a compound one; and thus one generation acquires fifty wants, and fifty means of supplying them are invented, which each in its turn engenders two new ones; so that the next generation has a hundred, the next two hundred, the next four hundred, till every human being becomes such a helpless compound of perverted inclinations, that he is altogether at the mercy of external circumstances, loses all independence and singleness of character, and degenerates so rapidly from the primitive dignity of his sylvan origin, that it is scarcely possible to indulge in any other expectation, than that the whole species must at length be exterminated by its own infinite imbecility and vileness.

  15. schultzzz

    Thanks for this article, and for telling us about Mr. Fleming’s work! I’ve been wondering about this kind of stuff for decades, but it seems there’s no way to even TALK about it using conventional economic terms.

    My main questions about Fleming (and all anti-growth, less-jobs theories) is: Who decides which jobs are ‘bullshit’ and can be done away with?

    And, how are people with necessary jobs (farmers, sewage workers, etc) compensated for doing those jobs while the rest of us kick back?

  16. John Hatton

    I worry about these ideas of “post growth” societies for the following reasons:

    1 “Growth” has led to improvements in our human condition. Medieval life was miserable on many levels and nobody from the 21st Century would enjoy it. Conclusion: do we really want to regress to the time of child brides, 40 year life expectancy and small pox?

    2 All productive human activities constitute “growth”, whether they be producing good things or bad. For example, in developed economies, extracting more oil is bad, and we should find alternatives to this. On the other hand, developing a cure for cancer is arguably good. Conclusion: be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    3 Similarly in less developed economies what we call “growth” they call “schools”, “running water”, “accessible and affordable energy”. Surely we do not want to prevent these societies acquiring them?

    4 We get so much more from life these days: foreign travel, exotic foods, entertainment choices, larger social circles. Do we want to give this up? Conclusion: if we don’t want to give this up then there’s a lot of people needed in “bullshit jobs” to deliver it.

    These essays seem very selective in their nostalgia and blinkered in their view of growth. I agree that some innovations seem slightly pointless and unnecessary. For example, do we really need more choice of food delivery thanks to the likes of Uber Eats, Deliveroo or Just Eat? On the other hand, Artificial Intelligence “growth” and robotics will help us manage many things, for example old age care or increased hospital capacity. On balance, modernity and “growth” mean the development of good things so we should focus on how to deliver good growth rather than resisting all growth. .

    1. different clue

      We should figure out what we can agree is bad growth and figure out how to resist bad growth specifically. Perhaps the word coined here by others . . . “groaf” . . . can help us figure out what we will agree to mean by bad growth.

      Perhaps the design engineer and social satirist R. Buckminster Fuller can help us figure out what bad growth is. He once suggested creating a company devoted to producing the very stupidest crap shit goods and performing the very stupidest crap shit services. He called the company Obnoxico. One of the things he “designed” for Obnoxico to sell was plastic sunflowers that would spin like pinwheels in the wind. The idea was that you would stick them in your lawn. Someone else later invented and sold them for real.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/l-steven-sieden/buckminster-fuller-obnoxi_b_2176638.html
      Mainstream search engines are now so crapified that if HuffPost hadn’t written about Obnoxico, I would not have found it “on line” at all. So perhaps we can say that Google, Yahoo, etc. are all front-groups for the service side of “Secret Obnoxico”.

      Mainstream economic growth means burning rising amounts of fuel down to waste heat in order to turn rising amounts of matter into waste crap in order to open and fill rising numbers of sanitary landfills and garbage-patch oceanfills. Such more groaf permits creating more jawbs in order to dole out money to moar kunsoomurz to buy moar Obnoxico crap. That kind of economic groaf should be exterminated from existence and wiped off the face of the earth.

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