THE BLOG

It's the Economy Stupid

02/06/2014 01:45 pm ET | Updated Apr 08, 2014

If politics in your country has similarities to politics in my country, The Netherlands, the central goal of it all nowadays is to make the economy grow. And if the economy grows all our troubles will be solved. Everyone will benefit. That's the general message.

Is this true?

If we go back in time, before the financial crisis, when the economic markets were doing good or at least better than now, did everyone benefit? Is all fine (again), if we going back to the way of living in that period? Are all our problems solved? If that is the case, then we all should mobilize to make the economy grow as fast as we possibly can. If that is not true, then we all should mobilize to make the economy grow as fast as we possibly can. No, off course not, then we have do some maintenance to the system we live in so that it will work better. We should give the economy its proper role in it. A revaluation.

* If the economy grows that will benefit climate change, we will save the ecosystem of our planet. This better be true. Because our planet is our home, our habitat, if we don't take care of it we run the risk of having no more future generations. Humans no more.

* If the economy grows that will benefit our health, we will have a long and healthy life.

* If the economy grows then will all be happy. No wellbeing without a lot of capital.

What makes an economy grow? In short, if more and more money is spent by us. This means that consumption of goods and services needs to go up. And if we want to keep on growing the economy it needs to keep on going up. Indefinitely!

How to reduce climate change?
1) Conservation of goods. Or in other words do longer with the stuff you already have.
2) Clean production of goods. This means investing money in sound ways of production.
3) Taking care of nature in a constructive way so it can blossom and regenerate. This means investing money in the maintenance of our natural surroundings.

If we want economic growth we need to consume more, if we want to reduce climate change we need to consume less. Money invested to really get a clean production of goods and money invested in the maintenance of our natural surroundings, is money that cannot be used to grow a company's business and the economy with it. In other words, in general a business wants to be as green as it can afford to be. As long as it is profitable money "wise". That's good marketing. The business has to grow. The economy has to grow. Nature can wait until the economy has grown. Unfortunately nature does not listen to economic laws. And unfortunately we do not listen to nature if listening hinders economic growth. Wise words are cheap, wisdom is in the action we take.

How to live healthy?

Eat and drink healthy and not to much and do not forget to exercise. If people start eating and drinking less, just what their bodies need and no more. Supermarkets will sell less. Supermarkets and the food industry will make less money and will not grow. But they have to grow in order for the economy to grow. If people start to be healthier that should mean they need less medicines and doctors, good for them, but bad for the health industry and the economy. More, more, more is not the same as better, better and better. That's the point I am trying to make.

Happiness for many has to do with the relationships you have with family and friends and if these are loving connections, if you feel that you can express yourself, if you experience joy in the things you do, that you know that you matter, that the work you do connects with who you are as a person, that you do new things and meet new people, that your life has a purpose, that you and your loved ones are as healthy and joyful as can be. Money can make a lot of things easier to achieve, but money in itself won't make you happy. Money does not buy the love you seek. So the idea that you need a lot of money to be happy is ridiculous. You need enough money for you to be able to live a healthy and save life in connection with others in which you can express yourself to the fullest and experience new, creative and joyful moments. So how much economic growth in your personal situation do you need in order to be able to be happy?

Don't get me wrong. The motivation of economic growth has served us humans well in a time that we could not supply the whole world with food and a roof over their heads. It was a great engine for progress. Nowadays we often produce more than we need in the rich countries and still less than one needs in the poor countries. And with the development and use of robots our capability to produce more goods is only going to increase. We need to transform our economy to serve our planet and ourselves instead of the other way around. We have the resources to end poverty worldwide, that is not the issue anymore.

Don't forget that growth of the economy in one country often is at the expenditure of more growth in another country, it is a competition. Not cooperation. So yes, one wants other countries to do good as long as they don't do better than their own country. A smart economy should support a sustainable life on our planet for all its people. A real global village. I am human first. It is high time that we do some maintenance to the role of economics in our world; the role of economics in health care, the role of economics in our ecological system and the role of economics in our lives.

How can we start to make a transition to a new way of doing things which is profitable for all human beings? This the question we should ask ourselves and our politicians.