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Is NoGrowth-ism possible?

 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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08 March 2019 07:27
 
icehorse - 06 March 2019 04:19 PM
Jefe - 06 March 2019 03:21 PM
icehorse - 04 March 2019 12:39 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 04 March 2019 09:31 AM

One possible problem with nogrowthism is that it creates a zero-sum situation in terms of opportunity. If the economy grows at three percent, then in theory everyone can make three percent more. If the economy is stagnant, then in order for me to make more, other people will have to make less. My gain can only come at someone else’s expense.

There are good counterarguments to this, but nevertheless: at best, the illusion of opportunity-for-everyone is ruined without growth.

While we forget it sometimes, we all live on the same spaceship. So yes, ultimately it is zero-sum.

Which is why much growth depends on exploitation of the third world (or past generations) in some regard or another.

It has in the past. But the OP is meant to be forward looking. When we get to ZPG, we’ll have to find a no-growth solution, correct?

It is happening right now.  In major industries that provide goods for people right now.

So all those corporations that are making use of exploitive low labor costs to provide inexpensive or price-reduced gear to first-worlders would have to change their product pricing models, and those first-worlders would have to absorb a general across-the-board costs increase on a wide variety of day-to-day items.

I don’t think that reducing low-cost labour exploitation is necessarily a bad thing, but I do think the general public won’t appreciate such cost increases.  It’s a hard sell - especially in an austerity economy.

 
 
LonnyTal
 
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LonnyTal
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25 March 2019 07:07
 

I completely agree. The broad public doesn’t go for any price increase. But I think it all boils down to people being misinformed or not informed enough.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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25 March 2019 16:15
 

No doubt shifting economic models is a hard problem. What I’m wondering is whether a non-socialistic economic model is theoretically possible in a zero growth environment. What I’m skeptical of is arguments (false dilemmas?), that it’s EITHER “perpetual-growth-capitalism” or it’s “state controlled, big brother, socialism”.

My intuition is that there is a middle path.

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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26 March 2019 02:28
 

humans are social animals, and so need a way to determine their order in the pack. What that metric is is pretty flexible: land, mates, titles, kills, slaves, record sales, trophies, medals, ... or money.

I see no way this is going to change.


However, most problems arise from restrictions on who gets to accumulate said metric and how. And if it is lost or gained too quickly, it causes social upheaval.
The metrics themselves are interchangeable, though.

 
 
Garret
 
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Garret
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26 March 2019 06:16
 
Twissel - 26 March 2019 02:28 AM

humans are social animals, and so need a way to determine their order in the pack. What that metric is is pretty flexible: land, mates, titles, kills, slaves, record sales, trophies, medals, ... or money.

I see no way this is going to change.


However, most problems arise from restrictions on who gets to accumulate said metric and how. And if it is lost or gained too quickly, it causes social upheaval.
The metrics themselves are interchangeable, though.

That’s true for some people, but not all.  I would agree with the statement that there will always be some competitive people, but I would not agree that all people are competitive.  It’s not just personal opinion either, there’s a strong scientific body of evidence that indicates how cooperative of a species we are, and we don’t just cooperate in order to be competitive against others of our species. The question then becomes as a society do we encourage competition over cooperation?  Or the reverse? 

icehorse - 25 March 2019 04:15 PM

No doubt shifting economic models is a hard problem. What I’m wondering is whether a non-socialistic economic model is theoretically possible in a zero growth environment. What I’m skeptical of is arguments (false dilemmas?), that it’s EITHER “perpetual-growth-capitalism” or it’s “state controlled, big brother, socialism”.

My intuition is that there is a middle path.

For a system to put breaks on growth, there has to be a method of applying control to prevent that growth.  If you don’t want the state to do it, who do you think should?

[ Edited: 26 March 2019 06:18 by Garret]
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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26 March 2019 11:42
 

People are always competitive if they feel that their perceived order in the pack is in jeopardy - which explains most Trump supporters.
It’s a sign of luxury when you don’t have to worry constantly about drifting down the ladder.

 
 
Garret
 
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Garret
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26 March 2019 12:16
 

That fails to explain such a wide-range of human behaviors, many of which have been studied through experiment, that I have difficulty even taking it seriously as a possible explanation for human behavior or social structure.  It strikes me as obviously reflective of an ideology and nothing to do with actual study of humans.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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31 March 2019 01:35
 

I believe so. I think there are small communities that serve as proof of concept.

There are practical impediments but I think the big obstacle is psychological. We need a level of self reflection and personal responsibility that we don’t yet possess collectively. We need to cultivate better motives.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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31 March 2019 20:23
 

Garret:

For a system to put breaks on growth, there has to be a method of applying control to prevent that growth.  If you don’t want the state to do it, who do you think should?

There is some upper limit to how many humans can live a decent life in a sustainable way on the planet. We might disagree about terms and numbers, but there is a limit. At some point we’re going to have to get to ZPG, and personally I hope it’s not via an apocalypse. So, while the solutions aren’t easy, they seem essential. How about rewarding women who make it to menopause having had 0 or 1 children?

 
 
Garret
 
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Garret
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31 March 2019 20:45
 
icehorse - 31 March 2019 08:23 PM

Garret:

For a system to put breaks on growth, there has to be a method of applying control to prevent that growth.  If you don’t want the state to do it, who do you think should?

There is some upper limit to how many humans can live a decent life in a sustainable way on the planet. We might disagree about terms and numbers, but there is a limit. At some point we’re going to have to get to ZPG, and personally I hope it’s not via an apocalypse. So, while the solutions aren’t easy, they seem essential. How about rewarding women who make it to menopause having had 0 or 1 children?

I recommend watching some Hans Rosling for information about birth rates.  His statistics are sound.  (also, his statistics site, Gapminder, is really, really nice)

Birth rates have dropped way more than a lot of people realize, and they’ve dropped in pretty much every country around the world.  Regardless of religion or income, countries have experienced massive birth rate drop already.  The main determinant for whether there are high birth rates is the presence of conflict and high mortality.  Dropping birth rates relies just on:
1. lower infant mortality (better medicine)
2. less reliance on child labor
3. access to birth control
4. economic freedom of women

When you put these factors in place, not even all of them, but just some, you see dramatic drops in the number of children.  Already, 80% of the world’s population lives in countries where the average number of babies per woman is around 2 to 2.5, which is about replacement rate.

Even beyond that, my question is more foundational.  If we are going to encourage or discourage specific behaviors from people, who is going to be in charge of doing that?  You seem to not want to empower the State to make these decisions, so I’m curious who you imagine will be doing it.

[ Edited: 31 March 2019 20:54 by Garret]
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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31 March 2019 21:00
 
Garret - 31 March 2019 08:45 PM
icehorse - 31 March 2019 08:23 PM

Garret:

For a system to put breaks on growth, there has to be a method of applying control to prevent that growth.  If you don’t want the state to do it, who do you think should?

There is some upper limit to how many humans can live a decent life in a sustainable way on the planet. We might disagree about terms and numbers, but there is a limit. At some point we’re going to have to get to ZPG, and personally I hope it’s not via an apocalypse. So, while the solutions aren’t easy, they seem essential. How about rewarding women who make it to menopause having had 0 or 1 children?

I recommend watching some Hans Rosling for information about birth rates.  His statistics are sound.  (also, his statistics site, Gapminder, is really, really nice)

Birth rates have dropped way more than a lot of people realize, and they’ve dropped in pretty much every country around the world.  Regardless of religion or income, countries have experienced massive birth rate drop already.  The main determinant for whether there are high birth rates is the presence of conflict and high mortality.  Dropping birth rates relies just on:
1. lower infant mortality (better medicine)
2. less reliance on child labor
3. access to birth control
4. economic freedom of women

When you put these factors in place, not even all of them, but just some, you see dramatic drops in the number of children.  Already, 80% of the world’s population lives in countries where the average number of babies per woman is around 2 to 2.5, which is about replacement rate.

Even beyond that, my question is more foundational.  If we are going to encourage or discourage specific behaviors from people, who is going to be in charge of doing that?  You seem to not want to empower the State to make these decisions, so I’m curious who you imagine will be doing it.

We’ve strayed far from the OP, but I guess my general take is to set up systems that incentivize the behaviors we want.

But back to the OP: Imagine we’re at ZPG. The question is this: is there a form of free market system that can be sustained in such an enviroment?

 
 
Garret
 
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Garret
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01 April 2019 06:08
 

I don’t think I’ve strayed at all.

For there to exist a free market with no growth, there needs to be artificial controls put in place in order to prevent growth.  Who will have the authority and power to enact those controls?

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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01 April 2019 07:09
 
Garret - 01 April 2019 06:08 AM

I don’t think I’ve strayed at all.

For there to exist a free market with no growth, there needs to be artificial controls put in place in order to prevent growth.  Who will have the authority and power to enact those controls?

Fair enough. How about if we use the same mechanisms we already have? Tax regulations, banking regulations, corporate regs. and so on, and we just tweak them a bit?

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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01 April 2019 07:16
 
icehorse - 01 April 2019 07:09 AM
Garret - 01 April 2019 06:08 AM

I don’t think I’ve strayed at all.

For there to exist a free market with no growth, there needs to be artificial controls put in place in order to prevent growth.  Who will have the authority and power to enact those controls?

Fair enough. How about if we use the same mechanisms we already have? Tax regulations, banking regulations, corporate regs. and so on, and we just tweak them a bit?

You would also have to eliminate the tax havens, lobby groups, corporation ‘rights’, graft and such…..

...all in direct opposition of those who favour these mechanisms.


Not impossible, but possibly an entire paradigm shift….

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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01 April 2019 07:35
 
Jefe - 01 April 2019 07:16 AM
icehorse - 01 April 2019 07:09 AM
Garret - 01 April 2019 06:08 AM

I don’t think I’ve strayed at all.

For there to exist a free market with no growth, there needs to be artificial controls put in place in order to prevent growth.  Who will have the authority and power to enact those controls?

Fair enough. How about if we use the same mechanisms we already have? Tax regulations, banking regulations, corporate regs. and so on, and we just tweak them a bit?

You would also have to eliminate the tax havens, lobby groups, corporation ‘rights’, graft and such…..

...all in direct opposition of those who favour these mechanisms.

Not impossible, but possibly an entire paradigm shift….

You’re probably correct. But that path seems better than shifting to communism. I’m open to other ideas..

 
 
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