Letters to opinion-leaders
5 Sep 06 - WEF- World Economic Forum

Email to WEF World Economic Forum dated 5.9.06

To: fmathuro-at-weforum.org, isabelle.tornare-at-weforum.org
Cc: kurtzs-at-freenet.carleton.ca, ymueller-at-mus.ch, reinhard-at-christeller.net
Subject: WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM'S 26th CHINA BUSINESS SUMMIT OPENS IN BEIJING THIS SUNDAY [WEF Press Release of 4.9.2006]

Dear Mr Maturos,
Dear Mrs Tornare,

I would like to comment on some points of your Press Release. You write that "the working theme [is] Sustainable Growth through Innovation".

First and foremost I would submit that "sustainable growth" does not exist, nor does "sustainable development", for that matter.

Nothing can develop or grow forever. All growth and development is measured in monetary units, which are in turn representing very material resource units.

Every Dollar of economic growth thus represents an equivalent amount of non-renewable resources depleted, in addition to the present amount of resources which we already irretrievably consume.

Innovation cannot make Growth sustainable. Growth always stops somewhere, somehow, either by outer limits or by internal governance.

The way humans and other beings function, it's always by outer limits. Sometimes the attainment of the limits cause a crash of the population. Our present society has overshot the limits and we are only living at present levels of population size and resource use because of fossil stocks (not only of energy).

The idea of "immaterial growth" of some economists is as nonsensical as can be. Only those economists can apparently live on non-material resources, thin air possibly. All other humans need food, shelter, etc. And growth means more stuff. Without producing more "stuff" one wouldn't have economic growth.

Therefore, although the WEFORUM professes being "committed to improving the state of the world", you do in fact contribute to worsening the state of the world by promoting the business agenda of economic growth.

The agenda of economic growth is in fact the agenda of planned suicide for human society. We are 6.5 billion people and together, rich and poor, we are already grossly overburdening the planet with unsustainable resource use.

The results of our overexploitation of the planet's resources are depletion, deforestation, climate change, biodiversity loss, toxification, pollution, mass squalor in the megaslums of this world.

Is has been estimated that sustainability would mean a world population of some one billion people at a cunsumtive level that would equate that of our ancestors of the 17th century. These estimates are scientific estimates, based upon calculations of resources available, and non-renewable resources being depleted.

Try to imagine, dear Mr Maturos, dear Mrs Tornare, what it would mean to Collonge-Bellerive, if its population would not cease to increase, if its agricultural lands would have to produce more and more foodstuffs continuously.

Imagine you would have two or three TVs at home, instead of one, and five mobile phones per person. That is growth. But that would have to be produced somewhere, probably not in your direct backyard. China, however, is our backyard and it depletes and pollutes for our consumer items.

Since we live on one and the same finite planet you will possibly conclude that that is not possible to continue growing, neither here nor elsewhere.

As I live and work in Geneva, I would be prepared to meet, should you have any doubts with regard to the above. I hope that you will consider the above and use it the reassess the aims and the policies of the WEFORUM.

I look forward to receiving your comments. I would especially appreciate hearing what Mr. Schwab's comments are.

With kind regards ... Helmut Lubbers
ecological psychologist BE MSocSc DipEcol
14 bd Carl-Vogt, 1205 Genf 022 3212320
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