Dear Beloved World,
Please, let’s stop measuring the quality of life with the yardstick of economic growth! We as nations states around the world have been doing this as a group for too long and it is not working. It is impeding our judgements and our abilities to implement the solutions necessary to morph our abundant world into one where everyone can thrive, happily, healthily, and lovingly. We cheat ourselves and each other when we claim that the richest countries (cities, companies, etc) are the best. When we allow quantity to trump quality, we are playing a game that in the end, everyone will lose. We really need to change this, and it’s not a difficult change because it is not a physical change, it is a perceptual one.
What I mean is simple, I am not suggesting we exchange our monetary system in for the antiquated and tedious barter system (although barter is great and I think indeed deserves its place in society), but I am suggesting that we measure the wellbeing of our countries, cities, states, business, selves, etc. by something other than economic growth projections. It is said that a healthy business is a growing business and I would like to call bogus on that statement! Who is the authority on that subject anyway? It has taken me years to understand why economists agree on this, and while I can see there point, I also think it’s rubbish. Good in theory but ridiculous in its practice in the modern real world. This is not Sim City. Not Farmville. This is the real thing. There has to be another way! It may not be as simple as stacking coins and summing up quarterly calculations, but I bet even you mathmatics buffs out there can still find a way to put a number on it if need be.
I am, admittedly, not very mathematically inclined, I have a more artistic nature, I like to view economies like an ecosystem. Picture a garden, a beautiful one with plants, shrubs, herbs, trees of all shapes and sizes. The plants in the garden are interdependent, each plant needs each other’s shade, fallen leaves for fodder, etc. and they all share the same basic resources, sun, water and earth. Now a healthy plant is a growing plant, roots, stems, and all of course. But as the years go on, at some point, one plant will encroach onto the the next, and if not properly pruned back, could take over and kill the plant near it. Some plants grow faster than others, while some, although tiny and seemingly useless as moss on a tree, are actually vital to the foliage that surrounds it. This garden is our economy.
Now, a good gardener will watch closely with love every plant in the garden, helping them bloom, adding mulch when need be, keeping weeds at bay. Business, towns, and countries should be like plants in the garden working as allies, not overtaking the garden as ivy over an apple tree (although ivy has its place and uses too), but growing healthy among the others. The goal of a good business should be to bloom, not to kill and overshadow. We as a people should be the gardners, watching, caring and enjoying the fruits and flowers. We should measure our shrubs and trees not by the size and stretch of the branches or even the amount of fruit and flowers having fallen but on the diversity, bounty, beauty, and ease of care. Bloom and let bloom! Yes, that’s it, we need a blooming economy not a booming one. Graph that math buffs!
Consider reading: Ecological Economics, Second Edition: Principles and Applications