Why the Growth Imperative is Linked to our Monetary Format

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Infinite growth is an impossibility on a finite planet. Dave Taylor argues how the growth imperative is linked to the current monetary system.

"Two traditions are necessitating the money economy growing, namely percentage payments for trading in money and en grosse, and the justification of income to work done by individuals rather than work actually needed. The second results in more individuals needing more work and employers needing more money to pay for it, which is supplied as of now by traders in money as credit at interest. But more money earned is spent by more people, so there is no net increase to pay the interest, which must therefore be paid for by more money supplied as credit, causing (except when interrupted by catastrophe) exponential increases in the supply of credit such as we are now seeing. What a philosophy of math!

Making the Flat-earth assumption that money is equivalent to the realities it claims to value, a trivial way of shrinking the economy is simply to shrink all the prices! But to prevent growth recurring it is actually the trading and transportation economies which need to shrink, logically by abolishing the percentage and piecework payment systems noted above, and instead providing all (including bankers and traders) with interest free loans for subsistence and justifiable investments as required, to be recycled by retailers, repaid by a commensurate part of the necessary work actually being done, and competitively motivated by prizes for good work already done. The necessary local work of providing for the maintenance of the community and its existing wealth can then take the place of expanding large-scale factory production and transportation unnecessarily as a means of sustaining the wealth of the community and improving its quality of life." (Critical Realism mailing list)