The Insanity of Endless Growth


9 August 2017
By Dr Haydn Washington for Dick Smith Fair Go.

The world is faced with a predicament of grave enormity – yet one rarely spoken of. The United Nations (UN), almost all governments, business, and media and both the political Left and the Right are busy extolling (even praising) ‘endless growth’.

Yet we live on a finite planet, so clearly endless physical growth is impossible, unsustainable and, in fact, insane.

I often give public talks on sustainability and ask the audience: ‘On a finite planet who thinks we can keep growing physically forever?’ Nobody raises their hands. So why then is our economy and society based on what many individually know is impossible? An excellent question – but one hardly ever asked in mainstream economics (Daly, 2014). Even the UN forgets to ask the question – and to answer it.

Limits to Growth
Most people in society don’t seem to understand that humanity has exceeded ecological limits, causing the environmental crisis. The book ‘Limits to Growth’ (Meadows et al, 1972) showed that our population growth and increasing consumption of resources would exceed planetary limits around the middle of the 21st century,  causing societal collapse. This report was strongly criticized by traditional economists, who called the authors ‘prophets of doom’ (Solow, 1973). However, a 40-year review of the ‘standard’ model of the ‘Limits to Growth’ has shown that it has been remarkably accurate (Turner and Alexander, 2014). To summarise environmental indicators:

  • The Global Ecological Footprint now stands at 1.6 Earths (GFN, 2017);
  • The Living Planet Index has declined by 52% since 1970 (WWF, 2014);
  • The species extinction rate is at least 1000 times normal (MEA, 2005);
  • 60% of ecosystem services are degrading or being used unsustainably (MEA, 2005);
  • Four of nine planetary boundaries have now been exceeded as a result of human activity (Steffen et al., 2015).

In effect, we are bankrupting nature and we are consuming the past, present and future of our biosphere (Wijkman and Rockstrom, 2012). On a finite world with expanding population and consumption, clearly something has got to give. So we really do have a problem, for humanity is totally dependent on the biosphere we are degrading (Washington, 2013). Hence society desperately needs to recognize we are way past sustainable ecological limits.

The endless growth mantra
Our best science may tell us that the consumer society is on a self-destructive path, but we successfully deflect the evidence by repeating in unison the mantra of perpetual growth (Rees, 2008). However, repetition of course does not make something ‘true’. Herman Daly (1991) argues that economic growth is unrealistically held to be:

… the cure for poverty, unemployment, debt repayment, inflation, balance of payment deficits, the population explosion, crime, divorce and drug addiction.

Economic growth is thus unrealistically seen as the panacea for everything. Daly (1991) notes that the verb ‘to grow’ has become twisted. We have forgotten its original meaning, where growth gives way to maturity, a steady state. To grow beyond a certain point can be disastrous.

A final aspect of growthism is that it is commonly claimed we: ‘Have to have growth for jobs!’. Is this correct? There are good grounds to question whether jobs have actually historically been linked to growth. Peter Victor (2008) notes that the idea only developed sixty years ago, and for most of human history we managed without growth in terms of employment.

Does growth necessarily bring employment in any case? There were more Canadians with incomes less than the ‘Low Income Cut Off’ in 2005 than in 1980, despite the real Canadian GDP having grown by 99.5% (Victor, 2008). Victor (2008) notes it is possible to develop scenarios where full employment prevails, poverty is eliminated, people have more leisure, and greenhouse gases are drastically reduced, in the context of low – and ultimately no – economic growth. It is thus mistaken to assume that growth and jobs are strongly related.

Once we have exceeded ecological limits, growth will make us worse off. We have then reached uneconomic growth. However, our experience of diminished well-being will be blamed on ‘product scarcity’. The orthodox economic response will then be to advocate increased growth to fix this. In the real world of ecological limits, this will make us even less well off, but this will lead to advocacy of ‘even more growth’ (Daly, 1991). This becomes a death spiral.

Healing our economy requires accepting the reality that the economy cannot grow forever. However, in recent years the term ‘decoupling’ has been used to argue we can grow further.

Decoupling
‘Decoupling’ means we reduce the amount of materials and energy used, and still have a similar quality of life. The UN advocates the ‘green economy’ (UNEP 2011) which speaks of completely decoupling economic growth from impacts, but how successful have we been in reaching it? Victor (2008) notes decoupling slows down the rate at which things get worse, but does not turn them around. Some modest decoupling of material flows occurred from the mid-1970s to mid-1990s, but total material throughput still increased. Victor and Jackson (2015) note that while there has been some ‘relative decoupling’, any serious absolute decoupling is not evident. Talk of ‘100% decoupling’ may just be wishful thinking that allows ‘business-as-usual’ growth to continue. Focusing just on decoupling runs the risk of becoming part of the denial concerning the unsustainability of endless growth.

Denial
How is it possible for civilisations to be blind towards the grave approaching threats to their survival, even when the evidence is extensive (Brown, 2008)?

Humanity has a key failing – we tend to deny our problems. We proceed often in a cultural trance of denial, where people and societies block awareness of issues too painful to comprehend. This human incapacity to hear bad news makes it hard to solve the environmental crisis. As a society, we continue to act as if there is no environmental crisis, no matter what the science says (Washington, 2017). Humanity denies some things as they force us to ‘confront change’, others because they are just too painful, or make us afraid.

Sometimes we can’t see a solution, so problems appear unsolvable (Washington and Cook, 2011). Sociologist Zerubavel (2006) explains the most public form of denial is ‘silence’, where some things are not spoken of. Take the silence about the environmental crisis, the silence about the fact that the world is overpopulated, the deafening silence about the impossibility of endless growth (Washington, 2015). The basis for much denial is ideological, where science and the environmental crisis are denied due a conservative ideological hatred of regulation affecting the free market (Oreskes and Conway, 2010).

Anthropocentrism – a pro-growth worldview
Solutions become easier if we change our worldview and ethics. Endless growth has been possible due to the overwhelming anthropocentric (human-centred) worldview of modernism (Curry, 2011), which sees the world as being essentially just a resource for human use (Crist, 2012). Anthropocentrism sees individual humans as more valuable than all other organisms. In contrast ‘ecocentrism’ finds intrinsic value in all of nature (Washington et al, 2017). Endless growth has been the ethical brainchild of anthropocentric ‘speciesism’, a toxic worldview (Curry, 2011) that has dominated Western society for two centuries. Daly (1991) concludes: It is widely believed by persons of diverse religions that there is something fundamentally wrong in treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation.

Solutions
We face a supremely difficult predicament. Society has become hooked on endless growth, but this has well and truly failed, as shown by every environmental indicator. Change is not easy but it is possible – but only by accepting the nature and scale of our predicament. Solving the key cause of the problem – the idea we can grow physically forever on a finite planet – means tackling the three key drivers (Washington, 2015) of unsustainability: overpopulation; overconsumption; and the growth economy. I suggest these key solution frameworks (see Washington, 2015):

  • Accept ecological reality and roll back denial;
  • Change our worldview to ecocentrism, and abandon the false dream of ‘Mastery of Nature’;
  • Control population growth through education, family planning and non-coercive, humane strategies (Engelman, 2016);
  • Roll back the deliberately-constructed consumer ethic (Assadourian, 2013);
  • Move past growthism to a steady state economy (Daly, 2014);
  • Solve climate change urgently, focusing on mitigation;
  • Apply appropriate technology, especially 100% renewables within 2-3 decades, along with major energy efficiency and conservation (Diesendorf, 2014);
  • Reduce poverty and inequality (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010), while simultaneously supporting the ‘Nature Needs Half’ vision (Kopnina, 2016);
  • Establish comprehensive education for sustainability based on ecological reality and ecocentrism;
  • Create the political will for change – Act!

We have been locked into an insane growth fantasy for two centuries, but the past does not mandate the future. It is time now to grow up. We need to acknowledge the scale of the problem, abandon denial, and move towards a major shift in worldview. This is a big task, but also an exciting, positive challenge – one nobody should deny.

***

Dr Haydn WashingtonDr. Haydn Washington an Adjunct Lecturer with the PANGEA Research Centre, Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW, Australia. He has a forty year history as an environmental scientist, writer and activist. He has a degree in ecology, a Masters of Science in eco-toxicology (heavy metal pollution), a Dip. Ed., and a Ph.D. ‘The Wilderness Knot’ in Social Ecology (2007). Haydn was worked in CSIRO, as Director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, as an environmental consultant, and as a Director of Sustainability in Local Government. He is the Co-Director of the NSW Chapter of the Center for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy. Haydn has written books on environmental issues, the most recent being ‘Demystifying Sustainability’ (2015) and as lead editor of ‘A Future Beyond Growth’ (2016) and the 2017 book ‘Positive Steps to a Steady State Economy’. Haydn is also keenly interested in geodiversity, especially the pagoda rock formations of the western Blue Mountains.

 

References

Assadourian, E. (2013) ‘Re-engineering cultures to create a sustainable civilization’, in Starke, L., editor, State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?, Washington: Island Press.

Brown, D. (2008) ‘The ominous rise of ideological think tanks in environmental policy-making’, in Soskolne, E., editor, Sustaining Life on Earth: Environmental and Human Health through Global Governance, New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Crist, E. (2012) ‘Abundant Earth and the population question’, in Cafaro, P. and Crist E.., eds,  Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, pp. 141-151.

Curry, P. (2011) Ecological Ethics: An Introduction. Second Edition. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Daly, H. (1991) Steady State Economics, Washington: Island Press.

Daly, H. (2014) From Uneconomic Growth to a Steady State Economy, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Diesendorf, M. (2014) Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change, London: Earthscan (Routledge).

Engelman, R. (2016) ‘Nine population strategies to stop short of nine billion’, in Washington, H. and Twomey, P. (eds) A Future Beyond Growth: Towards a Steady State Economy, London: Routledge

GFN (2017) ‘World footprint: Do we fit the planet?’, Global Footprint Network, see: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/world_footprint/

Kopnina, H. (2016) ‘Half the earth for people (or more)? Addressing ethical questions in Conservation’, Biological Conservation 203: 176–185

MEA (2005) Living Beyond Our Means: Natural Assets and Human Wellbeing, Statement from the Board, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), see: www.millenniumassessment.org.

Meadows, D., Meadows, D., Randers, J. and Behrens, W. (1972) The Limits to Growth, Washington: Universe Books.

Oreskes, N. and Conway, M. (2010) Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, New York: Bloomsbury Press.

Rees, W. (2008) ‘Toward sustainability with justice: Are human nature and history on side?’, in Sustaining Life on Earth: Environmental and Human Health through Global Governance, ed. C. Soskolne, New York: Lexington Books.

Solow, R. (1973) ‘Is the End of the World at Hand?’,  Challenge 16 (1):39-50. doi: 10.2307/40719094.

Steffen, W et al (2015) ‘Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet’, Science 347 (6223) DOI: 10.1126/science.1259855.

Turner, G. and Alexander, C. (2014) ‘Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we’re nearing collapse’, The Guardian, see: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse.

UNEP (2011) Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, United Nations Environment Programme, see: www.unep.org/greeneconomy.

Victor, P. (2008) Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, not Disaster, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Victor, P. and Jackson, T.  (2015) ‘The problem with growth’, in Starke, L (ed) 2015 State of the World Report, Confronting Hidden Threats to Sustainability, Washington: Worldwatch Institute

Washington, H. (2013) Human Dependence on Nature: How to help solve the Environmental Crisis, London: Earthscan.

Washington, H. (2015) Demystifying Sustainability: Towards Real Solutions, London: Routledge.

Washington, H. (2017) ‘Denial – the key barrier to solving climate change’, In: D.A. DellaSala and M.I. Goldstein. Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene. UK: Elsevier. 

Washington, H. and Cook, J. (2011) Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand, London: Earthscan.

Washington, H., Taylor, B., Kopnina, H., Cryer, P. and Piccolo J. (2017) ‘Why ecocentrism is the key pathway to sustainability’, Ecological Citizen 1: 35-41.

Wijkman, A. and Rockstrom, J. (2012) Bankrupting Nature: Denying our Planetary Boundaries, London: Routledge.

Wilkinson, R. and Pickett, K. (2010) The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, London: Penguin Books.

WWF (2014) Living Planet Report 2014: Species and space, people and places, World Wide Fund for Nature, see: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/living_planet_report/.

Zerubavel, E. (2006) The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life, London: Oxford University Press.

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35 Comments

    • Angie, thanks for asking.

      My motivation is self-interest. I have done really well out of this country and I now have grandchildren. I am really concerned about what will happen to them in the long-term. I will be dead so it probably won’t matter to me, but I am concerned that one of my grandchildren might say, “My Grandpa Dick Smith was supposed to be a person of influence. He must have known that the perpetual growth in population and the perpetual growth in the use of resources and energy was going to cause problems. Why didn’t he do something about it? Why didn’t he stand up and say something?”

      Angie, you might find it difficult to understand, but that is the quite simple sole reason.

      I have been fortunate to have been able to do well for myself, and also donate a few dollars to important causes, but nothing will give me more satisfaction than using my hard earned money (yes, made in a system of perpetual growth) to actually influence our politicians so they reflect what most of us want. That is, to live in balance without impossible perpetual growth.

      Regards

      Dick Smith

  • It truly is time that this issue is addressed. I am a 70 year old ex farmer and certainly don’t have the answers but I have been expressing this view for many years and most of the time people have looked at me like I have been out in the sun for too long. (probably true). I do fear however, that the vast majority of people either aren’t interested enough to care, don’t believe it could come to such a state, or just don’t want to know. They are too busy with survival and as long as their little world is revolving reasonably happily around them then that’s all they hope for and they are not capable of seeing further ahead than that. It is always the least wealthy who feels the pain of change the most. It’s a problem that will need to be addressed by governments simultaneously world wide and god only knows how that is likely to come about. The occupants of this country are already seen as the “haves” and the “have nots” are flocking here one way or another as it is, so imagine how much worse that will be if the type of society proposed is achieved in this country, as it most urgently must be, but not in the rest of the world.

  • Hello to everyone here.
    What can I say ? I agree with Mr. Dick Smith, and many others who have written on this blog.
    What can we do ?
    Stop being greedy ?
    Population cut backs would also be a good start, not just here in Aussie, but, globally.
    We don’t need any more people coming to Australia.
    We have enough problems to solve, both immediately, and in the very near future, I won’t go into these problems, as I would think they are obvious.
    I am quite prepared to cut back on many unnecessary capitalist gluttony luxuries I have enjoyed over the years.
    So, are others ?
    We tend to think it is other people who are over consuming, but, not ourselves !
    Oh, and by the way. I am 56 years of age, do not have any children, own a small car, and live very modestly, do you ?
    A sustainable way of life is possible, lets start by getting rid (or at least, don’t replace it, unecessarily) of unnecessary junk we purchase, just because we can !
    And STOP having kids for the fun of it.
    Us meaning, me, you and everyone else, has a responsibility to curb our consume, consume consume mentality.
    How can we achieve this ?
    Australia for Australians.
    Cheers.

  • I watched Dick last night on Jones & Co – excellent!

    One thing that troubled me was the suggestion by Dick that somehow the problems are all down to the “greed” of the wealthy 1%. There are no doubt many people and many businesses making huge money because of the present situation, but I see these people as accidental beneficiaries of a much deeper cause: the UN and its Agenda 21 philosophy.

    A lot of people, for instance, are making huge profits off the “renewables” scam, getting tax payers to subsidise their businesses – but they are only able to so BECAUSE of the UN agenda and government favouritism. Globalists are also favoured in this system, and will make massive profits. But it is important to realise that those making huge profits are NOT THE CAUSE of our troubles – it is our politicians’ desire to please their UN overlords that is making these selected few very rich.

    This is why we have the strange situation whereby (as Dick points out) obvious vote-winning moves are utterly ignored by both political parties. Why? – Dick seems puzzled. This is because our politicians no longer work for their voters, but for the UN. The goal of the UN is to eventually have a one-world socialist government, and towards that end there needs to be a more “equal” distribution of wealth – in other words, Western democracies like Australia will be broken down, de-industrialised and impoverished to make them more equal with the poor of the third world. This is why electricity prices are rising, and will continue to rise, until “equality” is achieved.

    Neither party is now interested in what the voters want – and if they don’t shut up and behave they will be replaced by waves of massive migration from the third world, which is already happening in Europe. If we don’t want to go down the path to the “equality” of world poverty under a one-world socialist regime, we have to stop voting for either of the major parties who are both onboard with the UN plan to turn the entire world into Venezuela.

  • To influence our politicians to reduce the rate of population growth it is essential that all political donations be stopped; not only from foreigners but Australians too. Our politicians have had a “Big Australia” mission for decades.

    In the early 1970s a friend, who was studying a social science subject at the ANU, told me that the lecturer taught the students that big business was pressurising our politicians to increase Australia’s migrant intake. These wealthy organisations wanted to grow their profits by having more customers to buy their goods and services as well as change the balance of supply and demand of labour in order to drive down wages.

    Therefore, remove the financial hold these wealthy corporations have over our politicians and this could result in our politicians doing what is beneficial for Australia.

  • Good Growth is to do “better” not “more”. Better is better value, better service, better fit for purpose, better health and safety, better community, better environment, better world, better self ??
    The current measures of growth are what need to change. Develop true measures and reporting of good indicators to keep people focused and inspired on the “better” and it has the best chance of being realised. Negative and divisionalist comments and measures undermine “better”.
    It’s sad that most of your commentaries have a negative view and encourage negative statements. I’m guilty of it too and it makes me feel bad. Do good to feel good and then do better. “Negative” and “bad” is easy, Invest your wealth and energy to identify “good” and “better”. Ps. That is good with two “o’s”. Ask yourself every time – is what I’m about to say – constructive – does it contribute to making “better”? I hope this is taken positively and helps us be a little better.

  • Your comments Dick are 100% correct but getting your message across to mainstream Australia and to those who are able to effect change in our society will be daunting if not impossible. The clock is ticking, so what do we need to see happen to make politicians and people sit up and realise that this is the only planet on which we can survive.

  • Very well said. This issue deserves to be front and centre of our society, world society and political ethos. The challenges are huge but not insurmountable. I’ll do whatever I can to help this cause. I don’t want my grandchildren to inherit the mess we are currently witnessing, so the common feeling of powerlessness has got to stop! Thanks Dick Smith, I wish all wealthy people had your principles and commitment to better humanity through good honest leadership.

  • Our politicians are too busy trying to be politically-correct global citizens. In doing so, they have lost sight of the fact that their primary duty is to look after Australians.
    Turnbull, Liberal, Labor, and the Greens are far too accommodating to immigrants; who cost this country billions of dollars, and many of whom have no interest in the Australian way of life.
    We have certain migrant groups who have no interest in finding employment, no interest in the rights of women, and yet our politicians bring them here in droves, and give them housing and everything they need, while they openly oppose the values this country is built on.

  • There’s simply not enough WATER. “Oh, we’ll do desalination plants” I hear them say. Is that the same ‘them’ who condemn us to massive traffic jams every morning and afternoon of the working week through lack of infrastructure? Is that the same ‘them’ who are happy to develop 300 m2 house blocks ad nauseum, as long as they don’t have to provide a means of getting to and from their fake suburbs?
    Anyway, salt is a poison. Where does all that go? Back into the sea? There is enough salt in there to cover the entire Earth in a layer 150m thick. Marine life is happy with 35% salinity. If there’s anything still alive down there, i don’t think it’d flourish at 40%+ salinity. Damn, no more sardines.

    Wars are being fought right now over WATER. There is a global pool of more than 200 million refugees (estimate ~10 years old, obviously a lot more by now) because of lack of water. The humanists among us want to bring them all here, but these well-meaning folk live in cities where there appears to be plenty of water and food – just ask the Woolworths or Coles. The fact of the matter is: Because there’s only so much to go around, especially in a desert continent such as ours, every person who comes here technically erodes our ‘quality of life’, making us poorer. It doesn’t matter if it’s a few people here and there, but 500 000 people a year? We’re on a course to calamity. It’s disappointing that the government of Australia does not act in the interests of its people.

    NOT ENOUGH WATER…….to drink, let alone grow food with……..Which part of that don’t ‘they’ understand?

  • Tony’s thought of the day.
    What’s wrong with politics today?
    Just a couple of examples:
    Reaganism – “trickle down economics” – a bullshit theory of the rich for the rich.
    Thatcherism – “user pays” – a horrible policy that wrongly assumes that everyone was born equal.
    Do you have other examples?
    Well here’s an enlightened, common sense viewpoint on the hideous state of affairs in Australia at the moment. From the rediculous situation where people have to pay 3 times what a house is worth, to what effect Howard’s 200,000+ per year immigration policy will do to our children’s and grandchildren’s future work and quality of life prospects.
    You really have to wonder why most politicians of the last 30 years or so are so hellbent on screwing up what was a wonderful life where a home could be easily bought on one wage, and a job lasted for life if you wanted it to. They seem to be brainwashed by, or perhaps puppets of, the worst ideas of the big end of town and the craziness of the far left.

  • The people in power tend to have a way of silencing descension. We will need a lot of people power beyond Facebook likes to solve this one. From the hawkesburry graduate

  • Most comments are statements of the obvious, it will take a very resilliant person to get on the PUPLIC/POLITICAL soapbox and sell the message
    Good luck DS, with saving ourselves from our unfortunate projected demise.

  • In one generation these corrupt politicians, big business, the extremely greedy and wealthy, international and domestic lobby groups and traitors have destroyed Australia and our values and perverted our political system into an oligarchy (a small group of people having control of a country or organization).

    If those that suffered and died (the working class) in the 1st and 2nd World Wars could see how this country has turned out, and the calibre of those controlling our nation, they would turn in their graves.

    Well done Mr Smith, you have clearly stated the views of millions of Dinky-Di Australians. Many other citizens in Europe would also agree with your statements.

    Best Regards from Peter Wilczek

  • The argument is very common that we need to bring in thousands of people to Australia to look after the ageing population. They don’t seem to realize that these people will themselves age, retire, go on pensions, need publicly funded health care, etc. The solution? Bring in thousands and thousands more. It’s like trying to put out a fire by throwing petrol on it.

  • Well stated and put forward Dick. I have been following comments on Global Warming and the looming energy crisis often discussed at Educational Lectures by a retired University Professor. He has always proposed we needed to use a plethora of energy sources to supply the demand in the future. When I put forward to him that new energy sources were not the answer (full one anyhow) but that the problems were being caused by overpopulation and that is what he should be addressing, he was somewhat taken aback. It appeared he had not contemplated that.

    You also should be pushing the biological fact that if a species overpopulates its environment and depletes it, then a large number of that population will die until a sustainable constant population is achieved. I realise that most of the public would not be familiar with that bit of Science but it should be pushed. For the human species, consequence/s would be far more reaching.

    Please keep pushing all political parties on this. Our species survival depends on it.

  • gday Dick,its not just population we need to cut.
    this country doesnt have the water to sustain what we have,when the drought hits,you will see.
    we dont have jobs either.
    who in there right mind would want to live against the wall of your next door nabours house ?
    kids dont get a yard to play in,its no longer safe to talk to a child,that isnt yours.
    i could go on but i wont be heard…

    well done Mr Smith

  • WELL DONE DICK SMITH!!…😀….So many of the population FEEL THE SAME BUT DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO!!….😢

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for being the WONDERFUL CARING AUSTRALIAN that you are!!………👍

    WE ARE ALL behind you!…….👌

  • Dick you have said on world wide platform what, every educated person should be aware of. Growth is not the answer.Our leaders are procrastinated with mindless oposition to the ever decreasing good policy when it is presented. Tony Abbot and Bill Shorten both should be ashamed on this point.
    What are we going to leave our children when we mine and consume our presious resources like they will never run out, all this is done with out consideration of the future and only for balancing a balance sheet and growth. This lunacy needs to stop.
    True economics is the management of precious resources.

  • My friends will verify that I have been saying this for 40 years! Better late than never or ultimately humanity will go under!

  • It really is time for action on this crazy lust for population growth,don’t expect any response from political
    lightweights.
    Vested interests are creating a serious problem.

  • Well done Dick. This needs to be high profile for society to realise that we are just following what business and and money making machines want us to follow. There is a way to fix this without having to colonise and strip another planet. I just hope that more high profile people and businesses get on board to promote a shift to sustainability.

    • I totally agree with the Dick Smithean cause but I believe we still need to move out and colonise other worlds for the preservation of the human species . As history and current science has proven , one decent asteroid ( and there are billions of them) and it’s all over red rover !

  • Thankyou Mr. Smith, your advocacy against unsustainable growth, both financially and logistically, is unique ( there is no other voice ). You are a leader with vision and truth. You have my support.

    PS; I always thought of growth as building on top of what already existed. I see that the growth that is referred to by this existing political arena is nothing of the sort. They remove and replace existing infrastructure at huge cost to us without any real ‘growth’ or improvement to the security and standard of living of Aussie citizens.

    ” First provide sufficiently for the existing status quo, then you can see clearly the road ahead, for if you cannot provide for the existing, an increase in population will exacerbate the problems. “

  • Endless growth is based on greed which unfortunately is a basic human trait. And in business, you are pilloried as a heretic if you’re not on the growth bandwagon.

    I completely agree with Dick Smith Fair Go but he’s picked a fight with the most powerful in the world. Good luck.

    • As a farmer and rural dweller I have been advocating all of these views for 30 years, but I get howled down each time. I do not have enough political clout to make a difference and to speak up, is to be considered a “silly old bugger”. I wish you luck, but greed seems to win. Greed and selfishness breed stupidity.

  • Extremely thankful that this topic is finally being addressed and talked to. It is not racist but reality, humans are sadly parasitic by nature.
    It will take an enormous amount of courage for the population to leave their consumer driven ideological existence to finally recognise that we must change in order for our species to survive.
    My full support, I hope this message is being delivered across the nation, I know we have all been waiting for this united voice of reason for some time.
    I’m onboard

  • i don’t believe that family planning is part of muslim religion’s ethos.
    which means if our judeo-christian population practise it, australia will eventually become a muslim country.
    for your overall plan to work, muslims need to change their practises & way of thinking. remember your muslim leaders said we will dominate the world through breeding.

    i have no idea how you would get them on board.

  • What can I say ? All of the above I wholeheartedly agree with. I have been banging on about overpopulation for years. I seem to rember back in Primary school (I am 68) that the estimated population of aboriginals before white man settled in Australia was about 1 million……in 50,000 to 60,0000 years that was as high as the population got ….I wonder why, something to do with being the driest continent on earth.
    Sign me up Dick.

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