The Steady-State Initiative
moving toward sustainability through economic reform
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2009 Jan 27
What is the shape of the economy? We know the present state of the global economy does not bode well for the present and near future. With the unveiling of federal budgets and stimulus packages, economists are attempting to forecast what shape the economic turnaround will assume. The optimists are hoping for a "U" shape while more conservative thinking expects more like a "V" shape.
Without any sincere acknowledgement that we need to strive for a steady-state economy, any uptick in the economy, whether a "U" or "V" only reinflates past economic bubbles with their underlying flaws and these are clearly not sustainable. We will witness perpetual roller-coaster rides of repetitive "U"s and "V"s, or more like continuous successions of "WWW"s.
What the world and humanity drastically need is an "L" economy, a Very Great Depression that shakes the core of the growth oriented mindset to be replaced by a steady-state economy, one that is flat, displays zero-growth, and sustainable.
Current budget band-aids are aimed at stimulating consumer spending. Politicians, economists and businessmen alike are telling us that it is all about "jobs, jobs, jobs". They want us to "spend, spend, spend". It's the economy, stupid!
But do we protect jobs at any and all costs? Every sector of the economy is looking for handouts, stimulus packages, grants, guaranteed loans, etc. Do we support all sectors equally, banks, auto manufacturing, oil patch, tar sands, coal miners, forestry, fisheries, etc.? Do we forego our principles and integrity to protect jobs?
Imagine a Dutch man going around with a very long auger creating holes in the dykes holding back the sea water. When asked why he is doing this, he explains that it provides jobs for all the people needed to keep their fingers in the holes of the dykes.
Or imagine a youth going around town spraying graffiti on walls of public buildings. Finally when caught and asked by the judge why he is doing this, he laments, "My mother is unemployed and my father is in danger of being laid off. He works as a painter for the town council".
Rather than artificially creating any job for the sake of keeping the economy rolling we should allow the bubble to collapse and let the economy find its rightful operating level. Usury must be abolished and replaced with interest rates on borrowing capped at two percent and one percent on deposits. The Government of Canada should direct the Bank of Canada to provide capital at zero interest for municipalities and institutions to provide jobs in education, healthcare and social programs. The Government of Canada through the Bank of Canada has the constitutional powers to create its own money without having to pay interests to privately owned banks. The Bank of Canada can also set the banking standard by providing loans to industry and corporations at interest rates capped at two percent.
Moving to an L-economy requires coming to terms with and accepting a zero-growth
economy. When we come to accept that as an industrialized society we have become
efficient at providing for basic human needs, we need to move towards a shorter
work week and more job sharing. Every able bodied citizen deserves the right
to be meaningfully employed.