Monday, July 23, 2018

growth and why it’s not a good thing

We’re thinking vaguely about moving house. Where we live now used to be on the extreme semi-rural fringe of Sydney. Now it’s just another commuter suburb. The problem is that the infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with the population growth and the traffic is now nightmarish. It’s no longer a quiet peaceful sleepy place. Now it’s noise, bustle, chaos.

All this is ultimately fuelled by the Australian government’s insane immigration policies. Incredibly high population growth is pushing city people further and further out.

The problem is, if we do move where do we go? If we go a bit further out then within five years or so the endless suburban sprawl will have caught up with us again. Moving right out into the actual countryside, the real rural Australia, isn’t really an option. Rural communities are mostly dead or dying, sunk in an endless cycle of despair. Which again is largely the result of misguided and vicious government policies.

Of course many right-wingers see the incredibly high rate of population growth as a wonderful thing. Population growth must be a good thing because it propels economic growth, and everyone knows that economic growth is always a good thing. I’m afraid I don’t share these views. I don’t think economic growth is particularly wonderful. Mostly it’s illusory anyway. It might be terrific for the corporate sector but I can’t see that it makes life any better for most ordinary people. In any case in Australia our economic growth is based to a large extent on an insane real estate bubble which has brought no actual benefits to ordinary people. In fact it’s made housing completely unaffordable unless you’re a wealthy overseas investor.

There are also the environmental arguments. Now don’t panic, I haven’t become a convert to the global warming cult. Global warming is a scam. But there are other environmental concerns that do have some validity. What mostly concerns me is the human environment. I’m worried by the social and moral unhealthiness of urban life and the psychological deadening of living entirely in artificial overcrowded overstressed urban environments.

Fetishising economic growth is popular among self-described conservatives but endless economic growth is not really a conservative value. It’s certainly not my idea of a conservative value.

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