“Everybody loves economic growth, don’t they?”

Will Self

Will Self

Will Self, speaking on the topic of “Political Trojan Horses” on BBC Radio 4 this morning, argues that we should all be more critical of the superficially attractive  policies of politicians. In particular, Self takes aim at the “oxymoronic” language of “sustainable growth”, stating:

The suppressed premise on both sides of our increasingly pre-fabricated party wall is precisely the same, all our problems, as a society, as a nation, as a culture can be easily circumvented as long as we feed the horsey the right fodder to ensure its growth… Aah, growth. Everybody loves growth, don’t they? Without growth, we’d be back in the dark ages with Oxen pulling the plough wouldn’t we? And, if you’ll forgive the extended chimerical analogy, an economy is also like a shark isn’t it? Unless it keeps on consuming natural resources and transforming them into the flexible cartilage of technological innovation it dies, and we die with it. In the years leading up to the financial crisis, the most plangent buzzword in our political discourse was, sustainability, a term borrowed from the life sciences that denotes an eco-system capable of maintaining itself without depleting its resource space.. The notion of sustainable growth is oxymoronic, and yet no one except the most extreme Luddite would dream of speaking out against it. Why? Because the assumption is that to deny growth to any one part of the economy, no matter how bloated that may be, is to deprive its most meagre portions of the nutrition they so desperately need.

Click here to listen to the full eleven minute programme. The second issue of Lacuna, which launches in February 2014, will feature a variety of alternative perspectives on prosperity, and question whether Gross Domestic Product is the standard against which our prosperity should be measured. To make sure you don’t miss out on this edition, or our other exciting content, click here to subscribe, follow us on Twitter, and “Like” us on Facebook using the buttons below.


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