(for article The Stupidity of Economic Growth)
by C. A. L'Hirondelle March - 2011



"Corporations are mandated, in effect, to 'grow or die,' a rule also called 'the growth imperative.' " --Michele Simon, Appetite for Profit, 2006


"There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of
human intelligence, imagination, and wonder
." -- Ronald Reagan

"Our commitment to the nation's economic growth is an affirmation of the real riches of our country"
--Republican Party Platform, 2000, USA

"...our Party's agenda to create jobs and grow the economy."
--Republican National Committee, USA, April 2007


"...the 24 Governors of the Democratic Governors' Association proposed our own economic growth package."
--Democratic Governors Association

"We believe the private sector, not government, is the engine of economic growth and job creation." --Democratic Platform, US, 2004


"The Government believes that business is the driver of economic growth and innovation, and that we need to take urgent action to boost enterprise, support green growth and build a new and more responsible economic model." 2011 UK Conservative Party

"Our Conservative Government... have taken steps to create an environment that rewards hard work, encourages economic growth, and improves the quality of life of Canadians." --Conservative Party of Canada, Sept. 13, 2008

"The Conservative party of Canada is committed to improving overall economic growth in Canada"
--Conservative Party of Canada Dissenting Opinion: Elements of an Emerging Markets Strategy for Canada, June 20, 2005

"We want a strong, growing economy" --John Baird, Conservative Environment Minister, CBC Radio AM:   "The Current", April 27, 07


"I want Canada to be the country that is the best in the world at combining economic growth, social justice and environmental sustainability..." --Stephane Dion, A Liberal Vision for Equality of Opportunity, March 2, 2007

"[The Liberal Party of Canada] will be there to help with strategic investments to create new jobs and growth."
--2008 Liberal Party of Canada election platform "Richer, Fairer, Greener :
An Action Plan for the 21st Century" section "Jobs Today; Jobs Tomorrow"

"create a new level of accountability for government spending and to spur innovation and economic growth." 2010 Liberal Priorities

"The measures set out in today's White Paper demonstrate the Coalition's ambition to create a fairer and more balanced economy - one that is driven by private sector growth with business opportunities spread more evenly across the country and between industries."-UK Liberal Democrats 2011


"All of these changes can help improve growth, income, and employment..."
New Democratic Party (NDP) of Canada Platform: Jobs: Smart Incentives

"Labour will: Continue to apply macroeconomic settings that are growth and job friendly." New Zealand Labour Party

"New measures will also drive economic growth and create jobs." 2011 UK Labour Party Building Britain's Future

"The two prime ministers [Britain's Tony Blair and the Netherland's Jan Peter Balkenende] argue that Europe faces the shared dilemma of the need to boost economic growth..." --Nicholas Watt, The Guardian Unlimited, Oct. 20, 2006


"Domestically and internationally, the tolerance of the poor and middle classes for the existence of wealthier classes and countries depends on a belief in economic growth." --David M. Delaney, What to do in a failing civilization, August 2005,

"...the strengthening of global economic growth is critical if globalization is to work for all, including people living within the world's developing countries." --Strengthening Global Economic Growth: Canadian Objectives (#2), G8 Summit, 2002. G8 members: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, United States, Canada, Russia (since 1998)

"Sustained economic growth, driven by industrial development, was key to poverty eradication..." --Commission on Sustainable Development, United Nations Economic and Social Council, Fourteenth Session, 8th & 9th Meetings , 2006,

"Growth is improving the lot of the poor in many countries, reducing poverty by half since 1981. Freer trade could accelerate progress." -- Francois Bourguignon, chief economist, World Bank, Financial Post, April 24, 2004

"... the best way to help the poor is to promote economic growth and job creation" --Myron Magnet, Editor, City Journal, Manhattan Institute

"To continue to progress, humanity needs more economic growth, not less..."
--Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, January 17, 2003, speech to Nova Scotia Forest Products Association

And as economist Joan Robinson stated: "It's a terrible thing to be a worker exploited in the capitalist system. The only worse thing is to be a worker unable to find anyone to exploit you."


"The real question raised by the coming of cybernation is not whether we can provide jobs for everybody, but whether we should provide jobs for everybody." --Robert Theobald, Background to Guaranteed Income, from the book The Guaranteed Income, edited by Robert Theobald, 1967.

" would save the planet earths' energy account 500 trillion a day to give all the non-wealth- producing workers their full pay to stay at home."   --Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path, 1980.

"In a mechanized society there are tens of thousands of such button pushers and machine watchers. When true automation comes they will not be needed, but unless we abandon the work ethic of another era, their lives may still be wasted because of blind insistence that everyone must have a 'job' even if the job is useless..." --Pierre Berton, The Smug Minority, 1968

"Only a guaranteed basic income can ensure economic growth, technological innovation and social welfare..."   --Dr. James Hughes, Embrace the End of Work: Getting Paid in Our Jobless Future, 2003

"'s time to make a choice: Luddism, barbarism or a universal basic income guarantee."   --Dr. James Hughes, 2004

"I firmly believe that the rapid evolution of computer technology (as described in Robotic Nation) will bring us smart robots starting in a 2030 time frame. These robots will take over approximately 50% of the jobs in the U.S. economy over the course of just a decade or two. Something on the order of 50 million people will be unemployed." Why our emerging robot nation needs a Basic Income Guarantee, 2007.   Marshall Brain, Robotic Nation


"In the developed world, it is not the richest countries which have the best health, but the most egalitarian." --Richard Wilkinson, Unhealthy Societies, 1996

"Low income Canadians are more likely to die earlier and to suffer more illness than Canadians with higher incomes regardless of age, sex, race and place of residence or cause of death." --Public Health Agency of Canada

"23 per cent of years of life lost for people under 75 can be attributed to income differences..." --Dr. Dennis Raphael, York University Health Research Department, Kingston Whig-Standard interview, Sept. 25, 2002

"Within each of the developed countries, including the United States, average life expectancy is five, ten, or even fifteen years shorter for people living in the poorest areas compared to those in the richest." --Richard Wilkinson, The Impact of Inequality, 2005


"From a universal, democratically established and set, societally guaranteed income, at least four benefits are immediate. First, this guaranteed income could financially allow people to refuse to work in industries that significantly pollute the environment. This reduces pollution. Second, the guaranteed income could sustain people while they demanded nonpollution-producing jobs and even jobs to reduce present pollution. This reduces pollution even more.   Third, the democratically set guaranteed income for all would allow more people to refuse to buy the significantly polluting products of industry.   Pollution is thereby reduced even further.   Fourth, this democratically set universal guaranteed income would allow more people to demand nonpolluting products from industry and even products and processes which ecologically complement other existing products and processes."   --Robley E. George, A Democratic Socioeconomic Platform, Center for the Study of Democratic Societies,, July, 2008

"Unless the work/consume treadmill is overcome there is a little hope for the planet." --Sharon Beder, Selling the Work Ethic, 2000

"The compulsion to work has clearly become pathological in modern industrial societies. Together with the obsession with creating wealth and consuming, it provides the impetus to go on producing goods at the expense of everyone's quality of life. Millions of people are being encouraged and coerced to work long hours, devoting their lives to making or doing things that will not enrich their lives or make them happier but will add to the garbage and pollution that the earth is finding difficult to accommodate." --Sharon Beder, Selling the Work Ethic, 2000

"We need to promote strategies such as fisheries closures while at the same time tackling poverty as a root cause of the degradation of reefs and their fish stocks." -- Dr. Cinner, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Beating Poverty could save fish, Science Alert - Australia and New Zealand, Feb. 10, 09

"If such processes run unchecked, it seems highly probable that we will render our planet uninhabitable. Yet we cannot reasonably throw our economic engines into reverse. " --Jonathan Piel, Board of Editors, Scientific American, managing Planet Earth, 1989


"That 50 per cent, or more, of society's labor is wasted has been known by some of the world's best philosophers and was discussed extensively in academic circles seventy years ago. ...Waste, poverty, and welfare can be eliminated even while improving the quality of life of many in the wealthy countries, and it can be paid for from the savings incurred by reorienting the currently wasted labor and capital." --J.W.Smith, The World's Wasted Wealth 2, Save our Wealth, Save our Environment, 1994

"An economy of abundance is under present rules also an economy of waste and repetition--indeed without this waste the economy would slump. Nobody, however, can be optimistic about the survival of a society with such values." --Robert Theobald, The Challenge of Abundance, 1961

"It is the attempt to keep the economy growing fast enough to provide jobs for all that harnesses man [sic] to the juggernaut of scientific and technological change and that keeps us living within a 'whirling-dervish' economy dependent on compulsive consumption." --Robert Theobald, Free Men and Free Markets, 1963

"... food companies face special challenges when it comes to obeying the market's growth imperative: because there's a limit-in theory, anyway-to the number of calories humans can consume, competition is especially fierce among food makers for a finite pool of money that consumers can spend." Michele Simon, Appetite for Profit, 2006


"What do you think contributed to Hitler's later success? Above all, it was the huge unemployment... once Hitler came to power, it was wonderful. Everybody had a job and there weren't any more unemployed people. They were happy to have a job..." --Ruth Hildebrand

"There had been 8-9 million unemployed people and that was all done away with quickly. They were all called up for the Reich Labor Service. Everybody was busy. Nobody was unemployed anymore. People who had gone hungry found work. But nobody had thought this would lead to war.... The people were at work. It was all a lot of fun." -- Ernst Walters

From What we knew: Terror, Mass Murder, and everyday life in Nazi Germany, an oral history (2005, Eric A. Johnson, Karl-Heinz Reuband)

"Following the Second World War, the United Nations, in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, included the guarantee of protection and security in the event of unemployment (articles 23 and 25). This was in large part a response to the belief that the rise of Hitler in Germany and of extreme political movements in general had been facilitated by the presence of widespread unemployment and disaffection." --Sharon Beder, Selling the Work Ethic, 2000

"... the notion that grinding poverty and unemployment in countries where more than 50 percent of the population is 25 year old or younger can lead anywhere but to violence and mayhem is equally na·ve.... How much more we will all pay in wars, disease, migration, terrorism and mayhem if we do not face the obstacles head on. This is surely one of those policy areas where the costs of inertia broadly outstrip the costs of even high-risk steps forward." --Hugh Segal, Canadian conservative senator, advocating a basic income guarantee in Policy Options (Magazine) August 2004

" In Canada, Hugh Segal has long advocated a guaranteed annual income which, he writes, "is neither doctrinaire nor insouciant," and would cost no more than "the billions now in circulation" on a wide range of social programs." --introduction to Hugh Segal's article,   Policy Options, August 2004


"What all my patients reiterate is that they cannot turn to others for help because 'everyone works' or 'they have their own lives.'"   --Ilene Philipson, Married to the Job: Why We Live to Work and What We Can Do About It, 2002

"Anthropologist Sarah Hrdy notes that in 'humans and a few species of prosimians that bear multiple young... infant survival depends on the mother being assisted by others... 'alloparents.'" --Naomi Wolf, Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood,   2001

"In the country, meanwhile, there is work to be done. This is the inescapably necessary work of restoring and caring for our farms, forests, rural towns and communities work that we have not been able to pay people to do for forty years and that, thanks to our forty year "solution to the farm problem," few people any longer know how to do." --Wendell Berry, What are People For?, 1990, 1985

"Canada's farming population dwindling: StatsCan. Canada has moved from one in three Canadians living on a farm to one in 46, a new report finds." --Anne Kyle, Canwest News Service, Dec. 02, 2008

"The action plan in this book is mainly concerned with work that is essential, but not financially profitable...   projects that are so absolutely necessary that responsible citizens cannot afford to leave them undone, regardless of cost." --Walt Taylor, Waging Peace for a Living: an action plan for survival of life on earth, 1999

"We need an economics that will allow people to find their true vocation and meaning in life, and to pursue it with integrity. ... We see the guaranteed adequate income as a first step towards a more just economic distribution that will provide people with their basic needs so they need not be dependent on jobs that don't exist or that are potentially destructive of the worker's health, the family, the environment or society as a whole...." --Women United for a Non-Exploited New Age (based in Victoria and Vancouver BC), A Guaranteed Adequate Income: A Turning Point in Canadian History, 1979

" I once heard the staff of a major nonprofit organization refreshingly admit that they were, in reality, "poverty pimps;" they lived off the sufferings of the poor and would be out of business without them." --Robert Theobald, Reworking Success; New Communities at the Millennium, 1997


"Dr. Josue de Castro makes the point that 'hunger, far from leading to depopulation, tends to bring about overpopulation." --W. Stanley Mooneyham, What do you say to a hungry world?, 1975

"If the real law of population is thus indicated, as I think it must be, then the tendency to increase, instead of being always uniform, is strong where a greater population would give increased comfort, and where the perpetuity of the race is threatened by the mortality induced by adverse conditions; but weakens just as the higher development of the individual becomes possible and the perpetuity of the race is assured. In other words, the law of population accords with and is subordinate to the law of intellectual development, and any danger that human beings may be brought into a world where they cannot be provided for arises not from the ordinances of nature, but from social maladjustments that in the midst of wealth condemn men to want."(Book II, Chapter 4) --Henry George, Progress & Poverty,   1879

"Improvements in socioeconomic development are incontrovertibly associated with declines in fertility, both historically and currently." --David M. Heer & Jill S. Grigsby,   Society and Population, 3rd Edition, 1992

"...with high infant mortality and lack of basic social services, it is a rational choice to have more children... When children are regarded as essential contributors to the economic viability of the family, is it surprising the poor decide to have more children?" --Inter-Church Coalition on Africa, Toward a Moral Economy, Responses to Poverty in the North and South, 1996

For example: 2006 data from the online CIA World Factbook showing listings for 235 countries illustrates this point. Of the top 20 countries with the highest fertility rates in the world, 12 also have the highest infant mortality rates and 8 have the lowest life expectancies. Life expectancy in Niger is age 44. When your life expectancy is 44, middle age is 22. Niger had the 5th highest infant mortality rate in the world. Is it surprising then that Niger has the second highest fertility rate in the world at 7.37 (number of children per woman see Glossary). Average life expectancy in 17 of the top 20 highest fertility rate countries is 48.4 years (excluding the 3 countries with both high life expectancy and high fertility rates: Mauritania, Oman, Gaza Strip). From these statistics, it should be obvious that high fertility is linked to high infant mortality, low life expectancy and lack of economic security. --C.A. L'Hirondelle

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