Economic Growth is the central Paradigm of our times. We are lead to believe that only growth in our monetary GDP is the path to salvation. Growth is ONLY GOOD! What if we told you this was a lie? What if you knew the evidence proves the opposite? Astonishing isn't it?
Research by the likes of the New Economic Forum and Economist Richard Douthwaite show that growth in our income increases happiness to a certain point only. Beyond that only our income, relative to other people's income, increases happiness. Since we can't all be richer than each, other none of us are any happier.
It gets worse.... If you factor in the negative effects of Economic Growth, such as Global Warming, Resource Depletion, destruction of countryside, traffic jams, terrorism, family breakup, pollution, crime, etc., then our standard of living has declined whilst the monetary economy has grown. Indeed we spend money to protect ourselves from pollution and crime just to prevent further unhappiness. The money we spend on bad things is counted as GDP so it looks like Economic Growth. If you blow something up or kill somebody it all leads to economic growth based upon a purely monetary measurement such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The New Economics Foundation has worked on a "Happiness Index" to measure various non-monetary indicators of our well-being. The results are astounding. Modern industrialised countries are unhappy places and we are getting unhappier by the minute. Where do you have to live to be happy? Try Bhutan. In fact some of the smallest and poorest countries on Earth all score higher happiness scores than those of us in the UK or America.
The message is simple. Economic Growth doesn't make you better-off no matter how you measure it. We simply don't need any more money. Since our relentless pursuit of money, to buy more stuff, just increases our Carbon Footprint then it is time to rethink what we really need in life.