On a finite planet economic and population growth are suicide for humanity!
"Green Economy" - "Sustainable Growth"
"Green Growth" - "Green Economy" - "Sustainable Growth":
Three expressions frequently used by opinion leaders and functionaries in Buniness, Politics, and the discipline of Economics (BPE).
They are used in defense of the existing paradigm of economic growth, frequently to support the arguments that
the poor need development (growth) and
growth is needed to create jobs.
Growth is always material, increasing resource depletion rates, and
The earth and its resource are finite,
neither "jobs", nor "development" are a valid argument.
Humanity is in a horrible overshoot situation. Therefore, if people in poor regions need development this must be compensated by contraction of rich parts of the world.
The below email sent to an economist provides some detailed explanations. top
[Some abbreviations used are explained at the bottom of the mail]
I was just told that you explained "green growth" or sustainable
growth or similar at last week's conference ....
Unfortunately I was not in the meeting room at that time so my remarks
to you after the conference were made without reference to your
explanations during the session.
In our brief discussion you've noticed that I share the desperation of
normal people regarding the growth paradigm. Because whatever the
theories and models claim, growth is always material and thereby
accelerating the depletion rates of the world's ressources.
This also counts for "qualitative growth", which is an expression with
a strong inner conflict.
Growth means "more".
Quality needs to be defined.
If quality refers to happiness and/or contentment with life or one's
lifestyle, then some questions may be asked.
1. Can one becomer happier with less material goods?
2. Does this require more basic facilities such as clean water and toilets?
3. If the change in lifestyle for more happiness means living a more
frugal life, without a car or other luxuries of modernity, then this
will generate a reduction of the GDP, not growth. Why should/could we
call this "qualitative growth"? It factually is an economic
contraction, generated by a qualitative lifstyle change.
4. If a person changes towards a better basic lifestyle, with clean
tap water, toilets, electricity, then this produces economic growth
and thereby increases the person's
impact on the environment by a higher resource use, most of which is
Thus "qualitative growth" is an oxymoron. It should not be used to
defend the needs of people in poor areas to get better basic
lifestyles, or - worse - to defend our growth ideology in this rich
part of the world.
On my website you find this brief statement on "qualitative growth" here:
"Economic Growth" is expansion of human activity, i.e. the increase in
production and consumption, normally accounted in Gross Domestic
Product growth over one year.
The GDP is the total monetary value of
all economic activity, i.e. agriculture, manufacturing, so-called
services (which include such very resource-intensive activities as
The GDP does not distinguish between goods and
"bads", i.e. work to repair accidents or outright harmful activities.
So-called "sustainable growth", "immaterial growth", "different
growth", "decoupled growth" are theoretical fiction, designed to
maintain the growth paradigm that is cherished by most opinion
I've also explained this in German here:
"Wachstum oder Nachhaltigkeit" - Brief an die KOF Zürich
"Qualitatives Wachstum", Effizienssteigerung und Dienstleistungen
As mentioned in our discussion, ... had suggested to meet for
a clarifying discussion before I would start publicly asking the
difficult questions about the UNEP's green economy intiative.
I've already become more explicit, see
In one session at the recent WTO public forum I questioned UNEP's GEI
after a presentation by Marc Halle, although without going into
details. Public forums hardly allow a real scientific and balanced
I'm open to any critique.
Kind regards ... Helmut Lubbers
<<< some abbreviations to facilitate understanding of modernity >>>
BPE = Business, Politics and the discipline of Economics
ECONOMIC GROWTH = The difference in GDP between one year and the
previous one. GDP=Money=Material. "Dematerialised growth" is nonsense
HOT = Hope Optimism Technology
LSM = Lame Stream Media
OVERSHOOT = Too many people consuming too much resources, possibly
more than 400 times in excess of the planet's carrying capacity.
PIP = People In Power
PPOD = Post Peak Oil Downslope
Transition to a so-called "service" economy
Annotated Press Release from the UN on the launch of the "Green Economy Report"
"Green Economy" - "The New Big Deal"
"Rio+20 and the "Green Economy"