Working within the confines of reality

I think it is time to stop and take a serious look at our current economic model. The Earth is finite. There is only so much land, minerals, oil, water, farmable land, and even though our forests can be regrown, they take a long time to do so.

There has been a lot of speculation lately with the rise of the Canadian dollar, the long term effect of the tsunami that hit Japan, the turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East and of course, the lack of a major rebound in the US economy. Can the Canadian economy continue the way it has? There are indications that things are looking up. You only need to look up from the numbers and take a walk in a shopping centre or talk to people in retail stores and you would find out that a lot people are not spending their money.

I am not so concerned about people not buying and I am not that concerned about our current economy. Why not? I cannot see how we can continue on the same path that we have been on for so long. Our system is based, not on staying in the black, but on continuous growth. We are always supposed to be looking for a bigger piece of the pie.

I remember back to my economic classes in university. The professor was always on about how Capitalism is about getting a bigger piece of the pie and hey why not? More money, more profit for less cost, and a limitless consumer base buying up an endless supply of disposable products is a wonderful idea from the view of the manufacturer. I was watching the Lang and O’Leary Exchange a little while ago on CBC News Network and Amanda Lang was questioning a company’s decision to liquidate subsidiaries that were still making money and Kevin O’Leary was explaining that from an investor’s point of view this was a good move because they were zero growth.

Have you ever thought about why it is bad to have zero growth? I know, making money is the goal, but zero growth does not mean that there is no money being made. It just means that if you made a million dollars last year and you make a million dollars this year you have zero growth, but you still have 2 million dollars. I want to know can we actually have an economy that is only based on rewarding growth?

I think it is time to stop and take a serious look at our current economic model. The Earth is finite. There is only so much land, minerals, oil, water, farmable land, and even though our forests can be regrown, they take a long time to do so.

If there is only “X” amount of actual pie can we honestly expect to have X plus 10 if there is only X available? But X isn’t really X is it? Since we are using up our finite natural resources faster now than ever, we actually have less than we started with. This leaves us in a bit of a bind when we are striving to achieve more of the pie.

Replacing the current economic model with a new one will not be easy, but it is something that we need to take a serious look at doing. We need a more sustainable system where we try and achieve a steady state economy where we work within the confines of our finite reality.