Growth or life? That’s the question from this new video from activist collective The Rules. “We can’t do both”, they argue. Not on a finite planet. “If we are going to survive the anthropocene, it will be because we create post-growth economies that allow us to thrive on this beautiful and generous planet we call home.”
Nonsense, some viewers will be thinking as they head for the comments box. Have some faith in human ingenuity, in the substitution of depleting resources, in the natural processes of creative destruction. With imagination, there are no limits we cannot overcome.
I say the lack of imagination runs the other way. Since we’re a creative species, why can’t we think of a better goal than an endless insatiable ‘more’? In countries that are already wealthy, economic growth is pointless and even self-destructive. What’s human ingenuity worth if it is used to self-destructive ends?
A postgrowth future is not a return to the past, nor is it self-denial. It’s about what we do after we have met our basic needs. Give us a goal worthy of our human imaginations. In the words of the fictional president Bartlett – ‘what’s next?’