Adonis Diaries

Shifting from Steady Growth to Economy of Sobriety?

Posted on: May 29, 2020

Shifting from Steady Growth to Economy of Sobriety?

Note: re-edit of “Economy of Sobriety (August 1, 2009)”

There is a growing political economics trend for substituting the traditional steady growth and productivity policies into an economy of sobriety.

The Slow Food and Slow Cities movements, along with many European communities exercising self autonomy in the economic policies of their districts, are practicing on a smaller scale the concept of “living better for less”.

The latest economic downturn (2008 crisis financial and current Covid-19 pandemics) is re-confirming that the previous policies are hindrance to global resolutions for global problems.

The middle class has increased 3 folds within less than two decades.

China and India have added over 300 millions to the 200 millions in the USA, Europe and Japan.

This quickly increasing middle class is demanding equal standards of living as in the USA ,simply because they can afford to purchase the same consumer goods for their comfort and are doing it.

World resources in minerals, rare minerals, oil, and wood .. are depleting and no longer accessible to sustain the current rate of consumption. 

Regular people are not interested in the concept of “faster is better” or “more performing is better”:

1. they would rather fly safely at more affordable fees;

2. they would rather that customs and airport regulations quicken the pace and alleviate faster the hassle.

3. The regular people would rather have moderately performing equipment that last longer and that are more robust under less than standard conditions in the developed nations.

4. Regular people cannot afford to re-invest for products considered obsolete within a couple of years.

5. Regular people would rather not to have to repaint or maintain their plumbing and electrical lines frequently.

6. Regular people would rather have potable water running on schedule;

7. Power utilities providing electricity less irregularly rather than the  increased rate for the luxury families of high consumption.

8. Regular people want public transportation arriving on schedule, accessible, and available in cities and in rural areas.

9. Regular people are not that interested in caviar and luxury items; they need flour, rice, sugar, and seasonal vegetables and fruits marketed locally and not exported overseas.

10. Regular people need a wider network of public libraries and public schools.

11. Regular people want the teachers to be paid right in order to be retained and compete with private expensive private schools.

12. Regular people need preventive health institutions.

The industrial nations have got to support sustainable economies in Africa, Latin America, and in the Middle East and desist from mass exploitation of natural resources and human miseries.

Kuwait, Qatar, and Libya (before the colonial powers decided to break it up) are already investing billions in agricultural businesses in Africa; they are renting lands for 99 years and hiring thousands of Africans in jobs they are proficient in and within their own States.

There is definitely an anthropological crisis: the traditional growth policies are uneconomical, anti-social, and anti-ecological.

Decentralized economies serving restricted regions are more sustainable and are solicited by citizens.

Institutions have to be revamped in that direction and up-down laws are no longer cherished.

In fact, less restrictive local laws are the best recourse to taming the monster of global totalitarianism in the making.

Catastrophic crisis are not teaching anything in behavioral change: they simply increase the level of fear, anxiety, and apathy.

Continuing in the same trend is tantamount of letting this monster of totalitarianism starting sniffing around for another round of human calamities (already all States are abusing of “emergency laws” during this pandemics).

Most probably, totalitarian regimes, established in order to control outbursts and uneasiness, will mushroom in industrialized States because

1) they can afford these kinds of institutions,

2) they have already the sophisticated and all encompassing control institutions, and

3) they have practiced it several times in many nations within the last decades.

Germany, Japan, and the Soviet Union experienced it efficiently.  France applied it to spread its public secular system of education in order to unify its nation. The USA applied it during the two Administrations of George W. Bush.

Currently, China is the most effective totalitarian regime. 

Millions of workers are transferred and displaced by a simple order of the politburo; millions succumb to eugenic practices on simple obscure laws; millions die in mining accidents and famine; gigantic dams are disturbing millions of people without recourse or participation by the citizens.

The third world states will always enshrine dictators, state political parties, and oligarchies but they will never afford totalitarian regimes for lack of sustainable institutions.

The best you might expect of third world states is organized chaos and periodic clamping down on dissidents.  There will be time when the “industrialized citizens” will opt to immigrate to Third World States and live in sobriety just to recapture the taste of freedom and liberty.

Note: Remember this article was posted more than a decade ago. And nothing changed drastically enough to hope for a more sustainable world in economics and finance.

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