Consume & Die

by stephenpalmersf

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, today said that the prediction that average UK earnings in 2022 could still be less than in 2008 was “astonishing,” adding that the economic forecasts published in yesterday’s Budget made for “pretty grim reading”. He added, “We are in danger of losing not just one but getting on for two decades of earnings growth.”

On the face of it, this seems straightforward; even reasonable. But there is an alternative view. Perhaps people in the West have for decades enjoyed artificially inflated wages owing to the pillage of the environment, which all capitalist systems handily ignore in their calculations, assuming use is sustainable when in fact that use is unsustainable. This system is supported by psychologically acute advertising methods (which in any other arena would be classed as abuse) and an economic model which assumes that growth is the single most important aspect of the world we live in.

The Western world has over the last sixty years expanded with unprecedented speed, at the expense of the environment and of the lives of individuals themselves. This is why wages have been so high and why so much has been manufactured for people to spend those wages on. The West has become used to its own rapacious greed, and now mostly assumes that state of affairs to be the economic norm.

It is not. Consume and die.

“We have a finite environment – the planet. Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth in a finite environment is either a madman or an economist.” – David Attenborough.