It really is vitally important that people understand the significant amount of trouble we are in already today – mid 2012. Very briefly summarized, the problem looks like this (click here for a more complete version):
Our economic system must grow every single year for it to continue existing. If the nominal GDP stops growing, unemployment will rise, people will not be able to pay back their extraordinary amounts of debt and the entire system will implode. The fact is, however, that perpetual exponential growth will run headlong into fixed planetary boundaries probably within this decade. This will cause the cost of living to spike as never before, plunging hundreds of millions into poverty and have hundreds of millions more fighting for their very survival.
In order to prevent this from happening, our civilisation requires massive infrastructure investments in the sectors of renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, water management, waste management, clean transportation, clean industry and green urbanization. Unfortunately, however, our labor market is structured totally for consumerism and is therefore totally incapable of pulling this off.
If you look at the labor market of any developed country, you will see that we manufacture/produce almost nothing. The vast majority of the labor market is in the service sector, designed to bring goods produced by other nations to local consumers as effectively as possible. In the USA for example, less than 2% of the workforce are qualified as engineers/architects implying that, even if we miraculously manage to scrape together the money, we most certainly don’t have the manpower required to construct this massive amount of new infrastructure.
Meanwhile, our already unsustainable carbon footprint, ecological footprint, debt, social inequality and societal complexity continue to rise year in and year out. How long do you think we can keep this up?
Filed under: Introduction – Key concepts