NOTES ON GROWTH
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and ECOLOGY
For more on growth see the many newsletters on US Capitalism and related topics. http://omnicenter.org/dick-bennetts-peace-justice-and-ecology-newsletters/
OMNI’s BOOK FORUM yesterday June 5, 2016, presented a film based on Klein’s This Changes Everything. Like the book, the film tracks unsustainable growth generated by our capitalistic economic system. “Growth is the modern deity.” The film and much more the book suggests many courses of action our committee might follow, including direct action.
No one book (and certainly no single film) can encompass all or even the most significant topics in such an enormously complex subject. For example, Klein has little to say about overpopulation or the militarism-wars-imperialism complex as powerful sources of growth within capitalism.
Following are a few related comments, citations, and quotations. Part I gives growth boosterism from the AD-G. Part II, emphatically bringing up the rear, scarcely mentioned in the AD-G, opposition to growth.
Note: NAD-G refers to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
NWA AND ARKANSAS GROWTH, Reports in Chronological Order 2015-16:
“Water District Updates Plans” by Amye Buckley. NWA Democrat-Gazette (5-17-15).
“The updated plan anticipates the need for a pipeline to supply more water to Fayetteville. . . .” [population!]
CENSUS CONFIRMS FAYETTEVILLE'S REMARKABLE GROWTH, BEST IN STATE From Maylon Rice 5-26-15. ]
The Northwest Arkansas cities of Fayetteville, Bentonville, Centerton, Goshen and Cave Springs were among the most remarkable growth stories in the most recent year, new U.S. Census Bureau estimates show. . . . (Email 5-26-15)
EASTER SUNDAY, MARCH 27, 2016, the AD-G thinks it a GOOD DAY TO BEAT THE DRUM FOR GROWTH AND PROGRESS (five of the many examples this one day)
Large ad “FLY XNA”: “Almost 40 Flights a Day to 14 Destinations.” XNA has a new runway and concourse too.
“Second Fayetteville Whataburger Opens.” “The company has grown to more than 790 restaurants in 10 states.” EAT MEAT FAYETTEVILLE, GO USA. See studies OF THE FORESTS CUT DOWN for BEEF AND FUEL CONSUMED for transportation.
Full-page Ad for Cargill (plant in Springdale). “We help people thrive” by “feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact, and improving the communities where we live and work.” Whata? Cargill is Increasing meat production for the increasing population while reducing CO2?
“Making Connections: Economic Connections.” Special Section. Praising growth of Wal-Mart of course, University of Arkansas (26,754 Fall 2015 enrollment), JB Hunt Transport Service (467,461 intermodal loads moved, new six-story bldng under construction, year-long advertising logo on No. 9 car during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series), and so on.
Editorial. “Making Connections: Special Report Examines Northwest Arkansas’ Progress.” A report titled “Making Connections: Progress 2016” praises “this vibrant corner of Arkansas,” its “economic growth and the developments creating a bright future.”
Resisting growth is up against one of the USA’s most powerful myths—of Progress through growth. It appears everywhere in our blood stream. A local example: “Making Connections,” NAD-G (March 27, 2016), 1A. To read the entire article we are told to “See PROGRESS, P. 10A.” There we are regaled with news of NWA’s expanding cities and towns. --D
GLOBAL GROWTH: USA, THE WORLD
TOURISM: THE WORLD DISNEYIZED
Jon Gambrell, “Dubai Amusement Park to Add Six Flags.” NAD-G (March 29, 2016). “A sprawling Dubai amusement park project still under construction plans a $454-million addition to include a Six Flags” (my italics). The park “already includes Bollywood and movie-themed parks, as well as a Legoland.” The cost of the entire project will be “well over $3 billion.” Planned in connection is the Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, “which officials hope someday will handle over 200 million passengers a year, and the 2020 World Expo, or world’s fair. [Tourism travel must be a high priority concern for anybody seeking to reduce growth. Perhaps our fee-dividend strikes at the heart transportation of all kinds.]
ON THE OTHER HAND
COUNTER-GROWTH (also in chronological order)
STOP SUBSIDIZING CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
RICHARD MASON, “How to Grow a City.” NWADG (5-24-15, 1H)
“The premise to grow, grow and continue to grow permeates not only Arkansas society but flourishes nationwide. . . . Almost all the chambers of commerce in our state have the same goal: unbridled growth with jobs, jobs, jobs at any cost.” Mason urges cities to stop giving tax money to chambers of commerce to encourage industrial growth and to convert the money to creating a decent place to live, many features of which he specifies. This article is a manifesto for our cities’ Quality of Life. [And it complements parallel contraceptive efforts by family planning organizations to enable people to reduce their family sizes, water use, crowded roads.] And of you know Richard Mason. Invite him to our forums.
WLF vs AIRPLANES
[OMNICCL’s fee/dividend efforts are up against several enormously powerful polluting industries.]
DEVELOPMENT OF CITIES: LOS ANGELES
“Smog-befouled Los Angeles, the Eden that paved over its garden, is a symbol of the patterns of development that have led to rising seas, intense droughts, and furious storms. The late-1930s decision to euthanize the [Los Angeles] river rather than revive it represents the more general choice that the United States took in the 20th century: growth over sustainability, industry over ecology.” Richard Kreitner, “LA Lost, and Found.” The Nation (March 28/April 4, 2016).
THE COMMONS CONCEPT AND PRACTICE RESIST UNBRIDLED GROWTH
University of Chicago Law Review
question of property versus commons as institutional forms for managing the .... See Yochai Benkler, Growth-Oriented Law for the Networked Information Econ-.
London School of Economics and Political Science
Grantham Institute and Global Green Growth Institute. London, 1st ... Green Growth vs. Degrowth? 2. From growth to welfare. 3. Commons as a new paradigm. 4.
US Forest Service
AP. “US Deals Blow to Development Plans.” NAD-G (March 29, 2016). The U.S. Forest Service stopped a company’s plan to build hundreds of homes, boutiques, and five-star hotels “just outside Grand Canyon National Park.” Environmentalists “said the growth would mar the beauty of the region and stress resources.” --Dick
National Park Service
Jill Rohrbach. “National Parks to Celebrate Sites.” NAD-G (March 29, 2016). “This year marks the centennial of the National Park Service with celebrations and special events planned across the U.S. to honor the agency.” Arkansas has 8 Park Service sites, including the Buffalo National River.
(see OMNI Service Newsletters http://jamesrichardbennett.blogspot.com/2016/02/service-how-did-you-serve.html)
SCHOLARLY AND SCIENTIFIC REPORTS versus GROWTH
NO GROWTH DEBATE FORTY YEARS AGO
Recently I looked over a book (acquired at OMNI’s sale of Rev. Dave Hunter’s and Rev. Kerry Mueller’s books given to OMNI) published in 1973 in which the pre-climate change positives and negatives of zero growth are discussed. The book will interest and perhaps assist us, since possibly the same arguments apply today in regard to stopping population growth in order to reduce the harms of climate change.
The No-Growth Society, ed. by Mancur Olson and Hans Landsberg.
BILL MCKIBBEN, EAARTH (2010)
Pp. 90-97 McKibben praises the Club of Rome and its 1973 book, Limits to Growth. It was an optimistic spurt of service to the earth: the first Earth Day, the EPA, first fuel economy cars, 55-mile per-hour speed limit, Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful, Pres. Carter’s White House reception for him, Carter’s WH solar panels, and Limits to Growth—transl. into 30 languages and 30 million copies sold. The researchers of this book saw the likelihood of our planet overwhelmed by growth and development. “They foresaw this planet Eaarth [growth and all of its consequences], and if we’d heeded them we might have prevented its birth” (91).
RICHARD HEINBERG, The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality. (August 2011)
describes what policymakers, communities, and families can do to build a new economy that operates within Earth’s budget of energy and resources. We can thrive during the transition if we set goals that promote human and environmental well-being, rather than continuing to pursue the now-unattainable prize of ever-expanding GDP. [OMNI has a “transition” study group, contact Gladys, Jean.]
Kenneth Rogoff, Op-Ed, NationofChange, January 3, 2012: Modern macroeconomics often seems to treat rapid and stable economic growth as the be-all and end-all of policy. That message is echoed in political debates, central-bank boardrooms, and front-page headlines. But does it really make sense to take growth as the main social objective in perpetuity, as economics textbooks implicitly assume? But there might be a problem even deeper than statistical narrowness: the failure of modern growth theory to emphasize adequately that people are fundamentally social creatures.