Delusion is the solution, apparently ….

5 12 2009

 Political speeches at the CBI conference break free of reality ….

 I have a problem with what Gordon Brown and David Cameron have been saying recently. Keen to compete on “fiscal reality” they have both offered budgetary toughness and plans for debt repayment. The trouble is the debt repayment plan requires a return to “growth”.

 I don’t like to be the messenger of doom, but we need old style “growth” like we need a return to business as usual. We can afford neither.

 All governments of the post-war era have colluded to build a society where we measure our well-being by what we buy, consume and earn. We have replaced community and family with ASBOs and ISAs. It hasn’t worked yet and it can’t work in the future.

 We have just one planet and it is plain stupid to place all our chips on a strategy for survival that depends on infinite energy and infinite mineral resources. We have neither. We need a more resilient way. Certainly not one based on ever more extraction, production, consumption and waste, with all the biosphere carnage and social injustice that goes with it.

 George Osborne (1) writes that a Conservative Treasury “will be a green ally, not a foe”. Good. Start by measuring national wellbeing by something less addictively illusory than economic growth.

 Whoever rules, there are hellishly tough questions to be addressed. Let’s start by ending the delusion that we can grow our way out of this crisis. It is our addiction to growth that got us here in the first place.

Chris Nichols

December 2009

 (1)     Source: The Independent, Tuesday 24th November 2009

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