Robert Reich predicts that austerity and inequality will cause economic growth to slow in 2016.
Many readers think this is a good thing. They say that our problem is economic growth, because growth causes resources to be used up.
Reader example: “Recessions gives poor Mother Earth some breathing space.”
Reader example: “The sooner this faux consumer-based economy falls on its face and is replaced by something more sustainable, the better. Our fall will be painful, but necessary.”
Reader example: “We are already need one-and-a-half Earths for all the resources we humans consume. How can we be worried about not buying enough? Does someone have a plan to start using up Mars? Can economic growth go on forever? If not, when do we start worrying about that?”
These readers are in error for two reasons…
First an economy (any economy of whatever size) never breaks even or “treads water.” At any point in time it is growing or shrinking. When an economy is authentically growing, people are happier and more prosperous. When it is shrinking, everyone suffers except top bankers and very rich people.
Moreover, the faster an economy shrinks, the more people desperately use up natural resources. For example, poverty in Greece and India means that no one can afford to buy cooking or heating duel. Therefore entire forests have been chopped down for wood fuel.
Second, these readers fail to qualify “growth.” Economic growth does not necessarily mean accelerated resource depletion. The U.S. government could grow the economy by putting millions of people to work planting forests, removing pollution, filling abandoned strip mines, and on and on.
In this world we have only two options: poverty or growth. I prefer growth. However growth can be healthy or cancerous. We need healthy growth, which requires deficit spending, plus control of inequality. And for that we must overcome selfishness and a lack of empathy (which, I admit, may not be possible for humans). I’m just saying that growth can be positive or negative.
Below is an example of healthy growth. Three billion people live without reliable electricity — or without electricity at all. This guy has solution which generates no pollution, and which enhances human health.
He also has similar projects in the works (not shown in the three-minute video) to provide millions of people with fresh water, via mini-desalinization units that use 80 percent less energy than does reverse osmosis, the most commonly used procedure.
He is also developing a hydroponic agricultural system to use vacant warehouses as farms, in which a single 12-inch square box can produce as much as an entire acre of farmland. Since it’s indoors, farming can happen all year long, rather than once a year. And it’s pesticide-free.
Headquartered in a middle-class suburb of Detroit Michigan, he is also developing an additive to make diesel fuel 20 percent more efficient, plus a procedure to remove 98 percent of mercury emissions from the coal used in power plants.
For more info about his projects, enter the words “Manoj Bhargava” at You Tube.
Mr. Bhargava is a billionaire who wears denim jeans, owns no yachts, or planes, or vacation homes, and cares about average people. This makes him hated by other billionaires, who have ordered the attorneys general in five US states to file cases against Bhargava’s “5-Hour Energy” company for “deceptive marketing practices.”
Check this out…