[p2p-research] The end of growth?

Kevin Carson free.market.anticapitalist at gmail.com
Wed Aug 12 22:50:32 CEST 2009

On 8/8/09, Michel Bauwens <michelsub2004 at gmail.com> wrote:

> But it is only a particular kind of growth that has become impossible, the
> kind that neoliberalism and friedmanism promoted that refused to take into
> account any externalities.
> A steady state economy, that recognizes that any input has to recycled back
> into the system to the degree that it depletes physically limited resources,
> has tremendous 'alternative growth' potential.

Exactly.  The question of whether "growth" can continue is meaningless
until the neoclassical conception of what "growth" itself means is
pinned to the board for a thorough dissection.

Since conventional measures of economic output and GDP reflect
primarily the economic value of inputs consumed, they are largely
irrelevant.  The GDP consists largely of the cost of Bastiat's "broken
windows" and of the cost of waste.  The more superfluous steps are
added to the Rube Goldberg mechanism of material production, and the
more tribute we have to pay for proprietary design and content, the
higher the GDP--even if we're working longer hours to pay for the same

A drastic reduction in inputs required per unit of output, and the
disappearance of the price mechanism altogether for much of what we
consume, would register in conventional econometric statistics as a
catastrophic economic collapse.  But it would be entirely compatible
with a radical increase in actual material standard of living.

Kevin Carson
Center for a Stateless Society http://c4ss.org
Mutualist Blog:  Free Market Anti-Capitalism
Studies in Mutualist Political Economy
Organization Theory:  A Libertarian Perspective

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