Limited growth in an infinite world

Limited growth in an infinite world 1There is a lot of talk about growth in economic discussions, often with the hope that it will last forever. But we know that this is not the case; sometimes there are hiccups in the machinery in the form of economic crises, recessions, etc. On the other hand, we have not experienced real paradigm shifts in modern times, where growth can change radically, and I am referring to major changes due to political turmoil, wars or disasters. We should be prepared for this, despite the fact that many see long-term and overall growth as (almost) infinite.

Even our environment is limited; although we realise that the universe is infinite, we cannot yet move from one star to another. And it will be a long time before interstellar travel becomes commonplace. Perhaps our minds are caught up in a future that never happened?

The growth mindset has also spilled over into the population issue. We often talk about overpopulation and the effects it can have on the earth’s resources and the environment. In the West, however, we are faced with population decline, a phenomenon that has been going on since the introduction of contraception and the family standard of two instead of more children.

Some politicians make no secret of the fact that the problem can be solved by importing new inhabitants, as if they were dealing with some kind of deficiency product that can be manufactured anywhere in the world. The fact is that the special northern European culture and social life is a highly unique phenomenon, cultivated over generations through a sense of duty, trust, openness, a high work ethic, etc. And that culture can hardly be replaced in a short period of time, which would be proven when we see that not only Sweden is collapsing due to social problems caused by high immigration, but also other Western countries are facing similar problems.

Do we really need to import new inhabitants to continue the perpetual (fake) growth? This is a kind of double lie, because none of this is true. Neither growth nor population increase is eternal. Sweden could have an excellent economy with only 8 million inhabitants, or 5 million. It is not a question of aggregate average growth, but of the personal development and wealth of individuals. One could still argue that it would be easier to protect the interests of citizens if they were fewer and more homogeneous, i.e. belonging to the same language and cultural sphere.

At the same time, we have a huge population growth on the African continent, for example. The population is increasing dramatically thanks to new and better medicines and better living conditions. However, we do not see these countries’ economies and working conditions developing at the same pace, as many Africans want to move to other continents to live and work. There is not always a link between economic and technological development, as many of Africa’s advances are imported from the West, such as vaccines, medicines and infrastructure. It is not as easy to develop the economy and create decent jobs for all the new inhabitants.

You hardly need to be a professor of population statistics to realise that European peoples may soon find themselves at a disadvantage, even in their own countries, precisely because of the growth myth and that the population should be expanded with people from other continents. This is not about far-right propaganda, racism or other loud epithets, but pure maths. We are getting fewer, and they are growing. Yet we want to develop our own societies and culture, just as everyone else has earned that right. Either we respect these fundamental rights or it could lead to difficult and unpleasant areas of conflict in the future.