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We need a vision which is better than that. We need a vision of a future which is better than the present. Buying into the austerity on green grounds is every bit as toxic as buying into it on economic grounds, because it is a toxic idea.
The underlying assumption of a better future is a future with "growth". I argue that one of the fundamental battles of our time is precisely to defuse that idea.
Human beings exist on earth for a long time and there is no reason to believe that "growth" has increased happiness (as a blanket statement).
Surely, I appreciate having a decent health system and surely I appreciate having the Internet. But, after fundamental desires have been satiated (food, security, housing, basic education, health) growth actually does not bring nothing that is fulfilling to our species.
The current materialistic view of society has put on the backburner issues that are actually more important for human happiness and are being destroyed in the name of growth. For example: the ability to find a job close to your loved ones. For example: The fear and stress inducing properties of extreme income insecurity (today I might have more than enough, tomorrow I might be bankrupt and food-insecure).
We do not need nothing more than we have. Actually many of modern gadgets (mobile phones) are mostly increasing stress without bringing nothing fundamentally important.
What we really need is to have a vision where satiation of real human needs takes precedence. And that has more to do with re-distribution, social cohesion, reduced fear. And less with a view of more growth.
I like to believe that satiation of human needs is compatible with what the planet can provide (though population size might be a issue - I very much doubt that middle class western consumption can be sustainable for all humanity) and that it can be politically supported by large segments of the population (it is difficult political issue in the current setting, but not unsurpassable based on anything innate to humanity).
Desiring for more material wealth (after basic needs) is inherently supportive of more inequality. That is not needed.
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