An expression I’m fond of using is “no tree grows to the sky.” I don’t know where I picked it up, but like most of my pithy expressions, it appeals to be sense of the natural order. Everything begins, evolves, changes, adapts, but eventually ends. It strikes me that most of the periods of tumult were the result of people just assuming the trend lines would never change. Everything would stay the same forever.
The one area where this always jumps out to me is the cult of economics. If you scrape away the posing and posturing, this strange modern religion is built on the absolute belief that economies can and must grow forever. The “economy” has been turned into a thing with agency that punishes and rewards the people, based on their treatment of the economy.
Nowhere in modern economics do you find people talking about steady low growth or even static economies, other than as cautionary tales. In the word of modern economics, the economy of a country is the plant from Little Shop of Horrors. It must be fed so it can grow and nothing must be permitted to get in the way of feeding the thing. In the moral hierarchy of modern economics, everything comes second to the economy, even human life.
To some degree, this is what drives the open borders fanaticism among the ruling classes. The shamans of the cult of economics tell these simple minds in politics that the economy must grow or we all die. Further, they tell them that the only way to grow it is to grow the population. Since the locals refuse to have ten kids per woman, the only solution is to import millions of peasants from the fringes of civilization.
In fact, growing the economy is so important to the health of the people that it trumps the life of the people. Mark Dayton comes pretty close here to saying that opponents of mass immigration don’t deserve to live, that they can be fed to the economy like the murder victims are fed to the plant in the above musical. To Mark Dayton, his statement is noble because he is saying he is willing to sacrifice his kin to please the god of modern economics.
Harsh words and heartfelt sentiment were exchanged by community members and local officials on racial issues in Central Minnesota at the St. Cloud NAACP Community Conversation with Gov. Mark Dayton.
Hosted Tuesday at St. Cloud Public Library, about 100 people from diverse backgrounds gathered to ask questions of St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson, State Rep. Jim Knoblach, Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, Council on Black Minnesotans Community Program Specialist Kolloh Nimley and St. Cloud AFYA Pharmacy co-owner Dr. Edris Kosar.
From the start of the event, Dayton bluntly stated his opinions on the racial tension in St. Cloud and across the state in regards to immigration.
“Look around you. This is Minnesota,” Dayton said. “Minnesota is not like it was 30, 50 years ago. … This is Minnesota and you have every right to be here. And anybody who cannot accept your right to be here, and this is Minnesota, should find another state.”
Dayton is defining citizenship here based on your acceptance of the New Religion. Much as libertarians think the unproductive should be turned into fertilizer, the man of the New Religion thinks the infidel is no longer his fellow citizen, maybe not even his fellow human being. The Bantu tribesman on the other side of the planet wishing to settle in your neighborhood means more to Mark Dayton than you, if you are not sufficiently enthusiastic for the new faith.
The bit of reality the shamans cannot contemplate is that the economy will not grow forever. Much of what is called growth is just currency manipulation. Another part is gaffing the numbers so the spreadsheets look pleasing. Automation, of course, is going to eliminate most work in the next generation. Growth as currently understood will come to an end by the middle of this century, no matter how many Bantus are imported to Minnesota.
The trouble is, everything in the West is based on the assumption that the economy will grow forever. That’s not irrational. For most of human history, scarcity has been the great challenge. The great minds were all put to the task of figuring out how society can allocate scare resources to support the maximum number of people. In a world with shortages of food, water, housing, shelter and safety, growing the supply of those stocks is paramount. It trumps everything.
That’s not the modern West. It’s barely the case in the savage areas. The population explosion in Africa is due to more food, medicine, shelter and security. We live in an age where poor people are obese because they sit around all day eating massive calories, taking massive amounts of intoxicants while watching television. Mexico is the most obese country on earth and they are allegedly waddling north in search of more stuff, like grazing animals.
A post-scarcity world should be a world of steady populations, with periods of modest growth and decline, based on fashion. It is a simple math problem. Instead, our rulers are convinced that we must have more and more people in order to feed the economy. Whether or not they really believe it is hotly debated on the Right, but clearly it is baked into their world view. The modern politician talks about nothing other than economics and economic growth.
I think it goes deeper than just a current fad. Everything is based on growth, real or imagined. Our institutions and culture are based on growth. We deliberately debase the value of labor through currency manipulation, for example, in order to encourage productivity and economic activity. The explosion of debt is so the welfare state can keep growing. Those massive credit markets everyone now fears is to keep the economy growing.
Generations of ruling classes have been trained on the core belief of never ending growth. Remove Audrey II from the modern discussion and what do we have? The error made on the Right is to assume this obsession with economics is in order to avoid answering that question. It may simply be that they fear discussing culture because it may upset the gods of growth and then there will be hell to pay.