backback ecoglobe basics The Economy, Growth, Work ("Jobs"), "Green Economy"   D  F
Animal-Man-powered agriculture... Fossil-fueled agriculture... We work to live and to be happy.
Once manual work, animal traction, and fire wood provided the energy to produce food and shelter, in addition to the natural food we could hunt and gather.
Nowadays we are working to earn money to buy food and shelter, and a lot of other stuff, dependent on finite fossil energy stocks.

Society and the economy

  • Human Society is the community of people, living and working together, providing products and services, paid and unpaid. Sectors of human society are countries, states, provinces.
  • The economy is a subset of society, normally understood as the paid sector of the production and distribution of "goods and services", and typically judged in monetary terms, the Gross Domestic Product. The GDP excludes all work and activities that are unpaid, such as child rearing, household work, and personal care, as well as the informal and the black economy. The economy includes numerous activities and products that are harmful to society and the environment and thus can be labelled "bads and disservices". The GDP also includes the repair work required because of the "bads and disservices."

    Since the earth is a globe with a definite size, its space and its resources are finite.

    On a finite planet, continued human expansion - population and economic growth - will meet physical limits, because of increasing resource scarcities and depletion.

    Limits can be:
  • finite stocks, such as fossil energy and uranium, biodiversity, old growth forests,
  • limited flows, such as wind and solar power.

    A Sustainable Society comprises a pattern of human activities in which resources are used at speeds that are lower than the capacity of nature to regenerate or to restore the materials we are consuming.

    Growth and Jobs

  • Growth is the difference in GDP from one year to the next.
  • "Jobs" is shorthand for the necessity to earn money. Frequently people say "growth" but actually mean "jobs". "Jobs" is work, mostly
  • GDP is expressed in Money. Money represents work done, materials converted, and resources and fossil anergies depleted. Money represents stuff. More money represents more stuff. Growth therefore means using and depleting more stuff.
  • Efficiency refers to the amount of stuff needed for a certain good or service. If the efficiency is increased, we use less stuff for one unit of good. Less stuff is less money. Therefore efficiency increase will reduce the GDP.
  • Some economists claim resource efficiencies and technology will generate future growth, and increasing efficiencies would therefore allow dematerialised growth. The 1948 huge size computer compared to a 2010 silicon wafer with much higher capacity at much lower physical size is used as example. This however violates the condition of equal time and place. If the huge 1948 computer were replaced by PC with a silicon wafer in 1949, the GDP would change in line with the cost difference between both, independent of the further and later effect on the economy. If a table is made with thinner legs, the material saved must not be produced and this decreases the GDP.
  • "Immaterial growth", and similar concepts like decoupled growth, are a physical impossibility.


  • Jobs" is the predominent argument in favour of continued growth. Frequently, when people say "growth" they actually mean "jobs". "Jobs" and "growth" are simply equated.
    The "Jobs" and "Growth" argument neglects important basic facts:
    1. Growth is not sustainable, and it increases the resource depletion rates.
    2. Jobs do not justify the continued and increasing depletion of resources and nature, thereby desroying our very basis of existence.
    3. We have overshot the earth carrying capacity by far. Therefore we must promote a contraction of the economy and of our population size.

    A "Green economy" is incompatible with continued growth! [UNEP]

    Our environmental problems (our "leaders" call them "challenges"), such as deforestation and desertification, food and water shortages, threats to the survival of nature (biodiversity), resource depletion, pollution and slumification, and climate change are all aggravated by population growth and economic expansion, also known as economic "growth". growth tables...

    growth tables...
    In a finite world
    is a suicidal policy.

    Growth is the predominant ideology of the
    BPE Compact, the people in
    Business, Politics and the discipline of Economics.
    Growth tables...
    Also see:
  • Globalisation and "free trade"
  • A "green economy
  • Peak Oil - "The Long Emergency" & "A Post-Oil Man"
  • Ecostories
    under development > click to comment
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