GROW! This single word is the manifesto of the current incarnation of the globalized economic system, driven by relatively small number transnational corporations. Stock prices, corporate values, country rankings, political elections are all driven by growth and growth expectation.
The objective is not only to make profit, but to increase the profit on a quarterly or rather on daily basis to remain “competitive”, otherwise investors and stock owners will shun the business or the management will be replaced by those who are more willing and capable of delivering the expected growth.
Needs can be created quickly and effectively by the marketing industry. Using “big data technology” combined with in-memory processing allows real time analysis of consumer behaviour, so marketing techniques and customer orientation can be adjusted on the fly.
The lifetime of the majority of products are unfortunately still too long to keep up the circulation of invested money therefore a plethora of various tricks had been invented to motivate people to spend, hence to maintain and increase production rate across the whole spectrum of economy. Credit cards, shopping clubs, air miles shops, shopping for bonus points, shop for the shopping itself, not for the product.
The culture of throw-away products has been introduced long ago. Computerization allowed automation, resulting throw-away human resource, zero-hour contracts.
At the next stage however it appears that this super-efficient, growth focused system might decimate its own consumer base by deploying intelligent robots. If production will be automated all across various sectors, what we are beginning to see already, there will be no need for employees. The question for the profit makers is who will ensure their profit by consuming their products.
Obviously population explosion is a key factor for boosting economy. Constant and wast increase in headcounts assure not only growing consumer base but also constant supply of cheap labour force for profit makers.
In a recent debate about whether “Is Britain full?” a British Researcher admitted the population growth boosted economic growth is seen very positively. Especially by those who benefit most from it.
Behind the magic words of “economic growth” in fact over 90% of the result of this growth ends up on the bank accounts of less that 10% of the population, while the 90% share less than 10% of it.
Taking a decent 5% growth for calculation as an example, distributing 10% of it allows on average 0.5% to be shared among 90% of the global population. The ecological damage however is shared among the bulk of population. As a long term strategy it would be better for everyone to preserve and maintain the balance of the biosphere.