The first step is to acknowledge our problem…America, we’re addicted to growth. I started writing this entry over a year but never finished it, until now. Now I find myself feeling some level of personal satisfaction as the U.S. convulses and hemorrhages as it begins detoxing itself from it addiction to growth and debt. No, growth and debt are not bad, but the debt and growth abuse we put our economy and culture through was unhealthy and was going to eventually kill us. Thank goodness the credit market seizure served as a wake-up call and intervention in one shot.
No economy or business can grow forever, quarter after quarter. At some point a company or economy (measured as GDP per capita) hits a size the is optimal–that is, it is using its resources most efficiently. After this point there is diminished returns and ultimately a forced contraction (recessions and earning decreases). If we focused our businesses and society on using our resources the most efficiently, we wouldn’t take on huge debt loads, make business decisions towards growth for growths sake, and try to keep up with the Jones’
We’re addicted to growth for growths sake. Was life really so bad 10 or 20 years ago that we needed to take such risks. We had nice cars, houses, TV’s, took vacations, etc. Quality of life was no worse, and possibly maybe better back then than it is now. Now we just have more debt, more stuff, and weaker companies.
Wall Street’s obsession with quarterly numbers and our neighborly keeping up with the Jones hasn’t made us any happier and has made the economic future much darker for the next few generations. It’s time we all learned to enjoy life more, having less stuff, and focus our economy and businesses more on keeping our quality of life not exceeding…it’s not worth the risk.