Friday, June 25, 2010
Capital's limitless growth
David Harvey suggests global capitalism's long-term survival is premised on a mathematical impossibility. He presents a truly radical idea - the world should aim for zero growth and distribution of wealth.
He distinguishes growth from development. "Development is about investing in people's creative capacities and powers. You don't need growth to do that. So you can have zero growth and at the same time you can also have radical transformation..."
I don't think the world has exhausted growth possibilities quite yet. There are still places on earth we have yet to plunder and emerging markets with new consumers. Imagine the huge Chinese and Indian markets. There are still virgin forests in Latin America and Africa. Plenty more oil to drill in Eurasia. And who knows what new treasures the ocean might offer once the technology becomes available?
I'll give it a century more. Then humanity will have to reckon with what it has created. We'll all be dead by then, so who cares.