Growth via Destruction
Growth is a term reiterated by politicians, businessmen, administrators and thinkers. Yet the meaning of each is entirely different. Over the various phases of human evolution, man has confined himself to a ‘developed model’ for growth. When human beings were hunter-gatherers invention of hunting tools became the ladders for growth. Later the technical and technological innovations in the field of agriculture were considered the crucial factors of growth. When the world entered into the Industrial Revolution the perception and meaning of growth got redefined altogether.
Over the years we’ve developed various tools to assess growth. ‘Growth’ in the modern world has only one meaning- the economic prosperity. It refers t the ways and means of achieving this goal as well. When we take a look at the common parameters so far developed by us to check, both the growth of an individual or a nation- the GDP, the stock market indices, per capita income, countless statistical tools, you name it – all focus on the economic growth.
Mass production was the outcome of industrial revolution. This laid two demands for the manufacturers. The uninterrupted supply of raw materials to sustain the production and the need for finding the new markets to clear the manufactured stocks became inevitable. The greed for more and more profits leads to over production. It goes without saying that the natural resources are devoured at a larger scale than we imagine.
The growth of an industry is always equated only with the profit it makes up. We are more familiar with every company announcing their profit and loss, every quarter of a financial year. Profit is understood as the accumulation of more wealth referring growth and loss is simply the poor financial outcome due to slag in sales. This is how we understand about profit and loss. We are trained only to look at this way. Growth is always used subjectively. For example a furniture manufacturing company which reports growth, infers only on its sales and profit obtained through it. None care for the amount of trees axed as the raw material for manufacturing. Neither do their growth curves show it.
Nothing can be created out of nothing. No one is capacious enough to create something out of nothing. The global growth is reported to be in an ever increasing pace. History tells us that the growth we were able to achieve in the 20th century alone outshines the entire growth attained during the entire existence of human race on earth. This sounds motivating and worth cherishing. But what we always fail to understand is the fact that growth is two sided. The consumerism fed by the materialistic lifestyle obscures us from the reality that we might surely face in the near future.
Growth in real terms should only be equated with the sustainment of nature along with the materialistic prosperity achieved. But the current definition totally ignores the ‘nature’ factor. The greed of the few individuals and their conglomerates enjoy personal growth at a huge cost of destructing nature, which nature would strike back on everyone, because unlike humans, nature is impartial.
Yet nature has a capacity to repair itself and self-evolve. All it needs is little time. The actual need of the hour is not more growth as the governments and industries proclaim. Its time for de-growth folks.
Growth attained through destructing nature is no growth at all.