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Monthly Archives: May 2014

mother narrative

Can growth continue indefinitely? Hm. Let’s think about what compound growth really means.

‘Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham (not of Downton Abbey-fame) Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more?’

Please, please, please read this article by journalist and environmental activist George Monbiot to find out (the above paragraph is shamelessly plagiarized from the article, in fact).

Or read my ridiculously concise summary. Here it is.

1) If we go on like this the planet is f…..

2) If we f… up the planet, we’re f….., too.

3) In other words: ‘If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up.’

4) ‘The mother narrative to all this is carbon-fuelled expansion: Our ideologies are mere subplots.’ (cf. here)

5) Do the maths yourselves or read this article by investment banker Jeremy Grantham. It’s not very CSR, I promise.

6) Did you click the article? No? Why not? No interest? Bit embarrassed maybe? Not a topic for polite conversation?

7) Exactly the point Monbiot makes. We’re destroying the planet’s biosphere. It’s blindingly obvious to everyone who gives it a single, not particularly clever thought. But the one thing that cannot be sorted out later is the great taboo:

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