Citizen or Consumer?

I have often asked myself if the growth-centered economy is really the best thing for the world. Recently I began to do a little light reading on the subject of a steady-state economy. I have come to believe that this is the only sustainable economy we can have if we wish to have any economy at all into the foreseeable future.

In fact, we have already begun to see the drastic devastation greed-oriented, growth-centered capitalism can give to the world: the natural destruction done by our consumption addiction, the corporate rule of American politics, the change from community-oriented living, working, and business to community-devoid living with large, one-stop-shop mega centers. And now a more publicly apparent and glaring consequences: the global financial crisis and global climate change.

Arguably, the relationship for of the desire of growth may not be the (only) thing that lead to the current financial crisis. However, do some reading about local economies (you know, the ones that should be feeding you, providing you with good and services). See the difference in food from a farmers market and a Wal-Mart supercenter – then you shall truly see the benefit of a focus on local economies – better quality.

In a steady-state economy the growth comes not in the form GDP, but growth in quality of life. The growth comes from development within our system, not expansion of the system as a whole. This is a qualitative improvement (development), not a quantitative change (growth).

I believe that a sustainable, steady-state economy can help solve the problems poverty, hunger, and save our environment. It will encourage local businesses and economies, not conglomerates that have enough wealth to buy the government (or pay them to look the other way while bad practices are enacted).

Don’t believe me? Read!!!

  • Deep Economy, by Bill McKibben (well-written, up-lifting book about the topic)
  • Beyond Growth, by Herman Daly (one of the foremost man on the topic of a steady-state economy)
  • Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train, by Brian Czech (this book inspired me to start this blog)
  • (a great wealth of information and more books)

Or, don’t educate yourself. Be a mindless drone that believes everything you hear. It’s always up to you. Be a Citizen, not a Consumer!