On a daily basis listening to the news I hear about the importance of economic growth. (Yes I do listen to the news too much!) This led me to think about economic growth and what would it look like if it mimicked natural cycles. (One of the Permaculture principles is to observe and copy patterns in nature.)
Even the largest of the giant redwoods do not get taller and wider for ever. (Someone did I believe recently work out the theoretical maximum height they could achieve. (Clearly too much spare time.))
Other growing things have cycles, many dying off completely during the winter needing new seeds to be planted or spread through birds, wind or other dispersal mechanisms. Here in ‘Britain, many trees and other plants stop growing during the winter, only to resume again in spring.
On an earth with limited natural resources, continuous economic growth is not sustainable, just as long lived though they may be giant redwoods still have a limited lifespan and size.
Many would argue that the world economy has already passed a sustainable level and is living on borrowed time.
How can we design the change to an economy that accepts these natural limitations to growth, has periods where it is in decline, others where it just stops etc?
I am not an economist so I don’t know the answer to these questions. I do however understand enough to know that these are questions that must be answered over the next few years if we are to avoid the economy changing in a much more chaotic way causing untold misery and ecological damage.