The world’s biggest problem
The world’s biggest problem is Growth.
Growth of population – we have a finite planet that can probably comfortably handle about five billion people. We are nearing ten billion now. And still some political and religious bodies insist on population-increasing laws and rules whose outcomes only exacerbate the situation. It’s as if they wanted to promote poverty, pandemic and prevarication.
Growth of wealth – hugely needed for those suffering deprivations no life should be asked to bear. The poor are not the people the growing wealth is reaching. The latest UK Chancellor’s (Finance Minister’s) tax cuts are a shameful disgrace to anyone with an ounce of decency – regardless of whether they work or not. If successful, they were communicated so badly that they will cause dissension and hatred. If unsuccessful, they will also disrupt the lives of one, maybe two, generations, among whom are our grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Growth of technology – yes, technological advance is great, some of the time. When it proliferates things that turn out to be as harmful as they may be beneficial it is potentially contributing to humankind’s downfall. Tactical nuclear drones may save us but they may – possibly more likely will – destroy us. Growth of communications – amazingly rapid advances in communications should benefit all. Instead their abuse in the short term is proving more dangerous than their long term benefits.
Growth of business. Our model of capitalism that has, reasonably successfully, grown the world’s economic performance in the past is failing and needs updating. The difficulty is that our political divides are so defined by growth that we don’t know how to harvest our knowledge for everyone’s benefit – or the planet’s. The system has been developed to benefit the few, not the many. We now laud the expression ‘Grab’. It says much about our business standards.
But there is one Shrinkage more serious than all these growth problems put together. That is the politics of the world. All political efforts must have the intention of bringing people together and of promoting rational, thoughtful, considerate behaviour. But politicians for much of the world have become self-serving, power-avaricious Houdinis trying to prove that common sense and decent behaviour are a thing of the past. There are good and dedicated politicians, too, of course. They are a dwindling minority with a diminishing voice.
Where do we have an education system that teaches people the importance of their vote and how to exercise it responsibly? What government, autocratic or democratic, has tried to modernise political involvement in a positive and useful way to make it more meaningful? Rather the reverse, we have observed political persuasion going to Trump and Putin, to the seizure of enlightened thinkers, to the murder of outspoken journalists, to the imprisonment of business successes because they threaten the incomptence of the political system.
So what is the solution to Growth Mania?
Ironically, Growth. Not the growth of size, nor numerical growth, nor the growth of power and self-aggrandisement we call success, but growth of those things that make life a joy, growth of what benefits our world, growth of self-worth. It is a powerful driver, but only if used to enable people to fulfil their own lives by making life better for others. It is not a growth of material prosperity but a personal gift to a world desperate for something more than greed. It is the growth of who we are, not of what we may become. It is the road to happiness.
The world’s mood is changing. We are learning that our measures are often wrongly applied to goals that detract from humanity rather than add to personali worth. The lesson, now being so brutally taught, is cooperation before competition. It is not a message of policy. It is a message from a mirror.
Warren Buffet summed up this journey perfectly when he said “Do not treat people as you would like to be treated. Treat them as they would like to be treated.”
Amen to that.
What is your solution to Growth Mania? Please tell us. Like you, we are still learning.
29 September 2022