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Thread: Governments love growth

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Governments love growth

    This excerpt leaves my mind with a lot to mull over.

    Governments love growth because it excuses them from dealing with inequality. As Henry Wallich, a former governor of the United States Federal Reserve, once pointed out in defending the current economic model: “Growth is a substitute for equality of income. So long as there is growth there is hope, and that makes large income differentials tolerable.” Growth is a political sedative, snuffing out protest, permitting governments to avoid confrontation with the rich and preventing the construction of a just and sustainable economy. Growth has permitted the social stratification that even the Daily Mail now laments.

    Read the full article on M&G Online
    What would happen in South Africa if there was not the dangling carrot that growth provides?

    How do we balance creating equal opportunities, growth, and environmental conciousness?

    Who are the people that suffer the most for growth? What would we have to give up to relieve their suffering?
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I think it is important to note that Henry Wallich is talking from an American paradigm - where the core belief is "The land of opportunity." You have the opportunity to achieve great wealth, but it is far from guaranteed.

    What would happen in South Africa if there was not the dangling carrot that growth provides?
    There seems a strong chance we're about to find out.

    How do we balance creating equal opportunities, growth, and environmental conciousness?
    We get better. More educated, more skilled, more considerate. But what is this thing "equal opportunities"?

    Who are the people that suffer the most for growth? What would we have to give up to relieve their suffering?
    The pampered poor of wealthy nations who spend their days idling by riverine systems overrun with jet skis by the looks of things. So I guess the answer is jet skis.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    I think it is important to note that Henry Wallich is talking from an American paradigm - where the core belief is "The land of opportunity." You have the opportunity to achieve great wealth, but it is far from guaranteed.
    In our current global paradigm, is this not what most of the West has bought into? Great wealth is never guaranteed, but there are certainly examples strewn all over our culture to create the belief that the whole world is "The land of opportunity." Is this not the underlying tenet of capitalism?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    We get better. More educated, more skilled, more considerate. But what is this thing "equal opportunities"?
    Hmmm, equal opportunities. I tend to sway away from using "equality" in its own right these days, mainly because it means a lot of different things to different people, and I ask myself, "Can we all be equal? Are we? Should we be?" In a way the same question you are asking me. So I've started using equal opportunity. To me it means that in some way, each person has fair access to opportunity.

    I'm glad you asked the question - it is forcing me to rethink it, hopefully expanding my own boundaries.

    The more I think about it, I suppose that it really comes back to freedom. Are we free to choose? If we are, we have the opportunity to choose the path we will follow.

    I believe that we are inherently equal as people. That does not mean that we are the same, or that we each have the same, just that we are equal in our personhood.

    Maybe it's time to stop there....
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