The guiding criminal lie in economics

Apr 7, 2024
Canberra Capital Hill Parliament House Lawn in Canberra Australia Capital Territory.

A criminal is one who seriously breaks the law. By that measure Albanese, Dutton and most pollies across Australia are criminals together with their supporters.

Human laws can be broken and repaired with a gaol term or a fine. Nature’s laws cannot be broken without continuing adverse consequences which cannot be repaired, and which persist into the indefinite future.

The most fundamental law in Nature is the ‘Second Law of Thermodynamics’ which says, among other things, that every action by humans to continue growing (in either numbers or consumption) is unsustainable and results in broad-scale damage from which there is no turning back. Yet growth is the principal driver of all government (and more generally social) policy.

It’s hard to believe that the pollies, most economic advisors, journalists, including the ABC, are unaware of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. If they are not, it’s a striking indictment of their education. If they are, and I suspect this to be the case, then they are complicit in criminal behaviour by supporting and promulgating a monstrous and destructive ideology.

The notion of continual growth is not based on but is contrary to scientific fact. Such growth is based on an ideology, complex ideas ‘taken off the shelf’ with no basis in science whatsoever. Historically, it was initiated by rich land and property owners in America in the late 1800s and early 20th century who, threatened by the alternative views of Henry George, established the first faculties of university economics and made sure that professors appointed served their own self-interested views. Their students became university lecturers and professors, and their students and successors are the ones now at the top of the economics profession advising governments. The Hawke/Keating government is an excellent example.

The consequences of the growth course we are now on are all around us and many (Julian Cribb and Jane Goodall in very recent P&I) have written on climate change, rapid loss of species, diminishing water supplies, declining real productivity and per capita GDP, and the accelerating divide between rich and poor as the former try (impossibly in the long run) to retain their advantage for themselves and their descendants.

Offenders that should know better than most are the universities. They contain many scientists who understand the Second Law of Thermodynamics, that continuing growth is both impossible and irreversibly damaging, but for purely self-interested reasons seek ever more growth. The growth ideology seems to have wired their brains – those who more than others should be able to take a disinterested view. Shame!

The most telling quote which proves the hollowness and stupidity of the growth paradigm/ideology comes from a winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, Robert Solow (actually there is no Nobel Prize for economics – Nobel did not, in his wisdom, provide one). Solow was dedicated to economic growth, won the John Bates Clark Medal in 1961, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1987 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.

Solow deliberately abandoned the role of ‘land/resources’ in his growth model, writing in a 1974 article, ‘The world can, in effect, get along without natural resources’.

Tell that to the multitude of those struggling to feed their families as the dollar cost of living (more usefully in scientific/real world terms as the energy/entropy costs) of the resources required to grow and transport crops to market, process them, distribute them through stores, drive to the supermarket and finally to cook them! All energy/resource costs.

A very recent paper published in an economics journal contains a very well written, simple to understand, short paper on the Second Law and the incompatibility of the present growth paradigm/ideology.

I urge everyone who still has an open mind to read it. I expect the media, especially the ABC, to take both economic paradigms as ‘matters of opinion’ rather than real facts that have to be squarely faced.

The present growth ideology is a monstrous self-serving lie. It is the biggest criminal act ever committed. It’s leading to the demise of human civilisation and the destruction of Nature on which civilisation depends. But unlike such criminal acts against civil law those who promote this lie and their descendants will only bear a tiny fraction of the cost. Almost all the cost will be borne by all humans, surviving plants and animals and a once beautiful blue planet full of wondrous life. The much smaller surviving population of descendants will lead much poorer lives. Growth is impossible, undesirable, unsustainable and life destroying.

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