THE BLOG
12/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

An Economy Based On Consumerism Is Not Sustainable

It's time to face the brutal facts. Consumerism rests on the assumption that the economy will grow and grow forever and pay for any excesses we allow ourselves today. But infinite growth is incompatible with a finite planet, finite resources, a finite ecology. Infinite growth is cancer.

At some point, boys and girls, the 'economy' has to stop growing. We're already drowning in landfill -- present and future. We're committing ecological suicide. That's nature's solution: 'get rid of the pesky humans'. But if we humans are to survive we're going to have to stop over-producing -- ourselves and everything else. If we can't face the future without an eternally expanding economy, we won't have one.

Economists have been selling us this theory of perpetual growth for decades now, and it's time to wake up and smell the snake-oil. George Bush told us repeatedly -- in response to every crisis -- that it was our bounden patriotic duty as American citizens to go to the mall and spend money we didn't have. All too many Americans bought this junkie philosophy. Only a very few profited from it.

It was fascinating to see the president, the bankers, the economists, the brokers, all reassuring us the sky was 'basically' blue, as the storm clouds gathered. And even when the recession winds had already reached gale force and the rain was pouring down, they kept shouting -- hard to hear above the storm -- that it wasn't technically a recession. Nothing could more clearly reflect the fundamentally delusional aspect of current economic theory: it all depends on wishful thinking.

Everything viable on this planet is in a feedback cycle: plants give us oxygen, we give them CO2; animals eat grass, fertilize the field, predators and prey adapt to keep each other from outstripping their food supply, and so on. The entire planet is self-sustaining. Only humans try to inflate themselves endlessly.

When balloons get over-inflated they explode. When species don't contribute to the cycle of life, they're cast off. Our species will not survive unless we can find a way to come to terms with that unthinkable concept, a steady state economy, as advocated by Herman Daly and Robert D. Feinman.

Check my website for information on my new book THE CHRYSALIS EFFECT: THE METAMORPHOSIS OF GLOBAL CULTURE.