George Monbiot (on economic growth and the dreaded WHY)

For his quirky autobiographical note alone, I'd admire the man.

For his quirky autobiographical note alone, I’d admire the man.

For most of our politicians, in most of our countries — those who are elected to preserve and advance a governance system that appears unable to consider anything besides economic growth as keys to the good life, the good society — George Monbiot is on the lunatic fringe. His book Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning (2006) was unsparing, openly pessimistic and radical in the original sense — it called for fundamental change in how we look at our governance, our lifestyles, our future, everything. “Radical” means “going back to the roots”. Those that we invest with the authority to make societal changes aren’t often interested in radical thought, partly because it requires so much thought and partly because it undermines their own privileged positions in society.

Here was Mr. Monbiot earlier this week, concluding a recent commentary in the Guardian newspaper — “Growth: the destructive god that can never be appeased” — with questions that the elected don’t often consider, but which citizens must:

“Why are we wrecking the natural world and public services to generate growth, when that growth is not delivering contentment, security or even, for most of us, greater prosperity? Why have we enthroned growth, regardless of its utility, above all other outcomes? Why, despite failures so great and so frequent, have we not changed the model? When the next crash comes, these questions will be inescapable.”

George Monbiot (b. 1963) has been working to change his world since his university days. He is the writer of several books, a regular Guardian columnist, an environmental activist and a thorny voice in British and world discourse on the building of sustainable futures. He grows his own fruit and vegetables. He says, “Here is what I fear: other people’s cowardice.

Me, too, but I start with my own.

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