18 November 2010

my take on 'no-growth'

In my last post, I talked about the no-growth economic model which could be the model of economics the world is forced to follow due to growing environmental constraints. The US Congress can deny climate change 'til they're blue in the face but the fact remains that we're already seeing negative effects on our economy due to climate change. I choose to listen to the wiser economists and scientists, like Nicholas Stern perhaps.

The way I see it, the no-growth model is already happening. Or at least happening in part of the world. Economical growth in the Western world is beginning to taper off. More and more people are choosing to distance themselves from the rat-race, live alternatively and are seeking to discover that 'lost part of themselves'. In the 1970s they were called hippies; now they are the new radicals, the so-called pioneers of the environmental movement. Basically however, they are the category of people who have realized that economic success is not the real measure of happiness.

In the 1950's, at the peak of American industrialization everything was hunky-dory, people reported an all-time high in happiness. Since then standard of living has grown but happiness quotients have dropped. Something changed: perhaps the measure of happiness itself? Lives became busier, parents had less time for children, for friends, for hobbies - all the things that give us happiness. Instead people bought stuff to fill a void and subsequently landfills became bigger and bigger.

So now all of this is happening in the East, in the 'developing' world. People are working more, earning more, buying more and yet every single high-flying career person I meet isn't exactly happy. We now live in a post-recessional, climate-change laden, biodiversity-decreasing world full of majorly unhappy people who want to buy stuff but can't really afford to. But this view of mine changed when I met a few people recently who work but not crazy-hard, live on a farm, grow their own vegetables and have time for the things that matter. They were happy, like radiating bolts of joy just bouncing off of them.

This is the product of no-growth. It is not entirely bad. However, the bigger question remains: the people in the less-developed world, who want to aspire for the rat-race and fancy gadgets - do they realize what awaits at the end of this rainbow? Or are we just going to go around the wheel and realize that the place where we started from was the best place after-all?

Seems a waste of time to me.


Osai Chella said...

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Akhila Vijayaraghavan said...

Hello Chella, Nice to hear from you. Your blog looks interesting and would to hear more about what you do.

sriramraghavan said...

Hi Akhila! It was fun to real fun this post :-) For the past few months, I have been discussing these deep philosophical thoughts and ethics with friends at my Business school. This post has put into words my thoughts! Thanks!

Akhila Vijayaraghavan said...

Hi! Thanks for your comment. What are your deep philosophical thoughts about ethics?