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But why would we need a boom? Economically, that is. We need people to find valuable employment, which could be made easier by resource constraints (forcing a return to processes using more manpower in order to save on resources), and for people to have a decent standard of living, which in the West is purely a distributional issue: we produce more than we need, many times over.

Politically, it may be different. It is true that the only recent episode of major drop in inequality came on the back of a boom (although one has to be cautious with regards to the direction of causality there - probably both ways), or rather the bounce from an awful nadir.

But the point of the Keynesian program is not a boom -I do believe we need to reduce total consumption in the West- but for everyone to be employed and to address unsustainability. If we have a system that can only function with strong growth it is bound to struggle mightily (for example, when population starts dropping fast worldwide).

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 5th, 2014 at 05:54:19 AM EST
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Some say that the human nature is either to go up (learn, grow, advance) or to go down (slide, decline, weaken). A stationary phase is not appreciated.

With today's political economy, substantial growth is needed just to hide gaps between rentiers and the rest.

by das monde on Wed Nov 5th, 2014 at 06:06:08 AM EST
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Let's go up in quality.
It does not have to be in quantity.

Also, don't confuse human nature and the West. Egypt was going mostly sideways for millennia.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 5th, 2014 at 06:42:23 AM EST
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To even have a sensible conversation about this you need to redefine all your terms.

"Poorer in real terms", "reduce total consumption", "valuable employment" all sounds terrible if you're embedded within the prevailing worldview.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 5th, 2014 at 06:49:51 AM EST
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The US economy has always been based on booms and busts, fueled by fraudulent financing that is eventually caught out.  It really doesn't know any other way to operate.  1946-1973 was a one-generation exception based on conditions that are gone and aren't coming back.
by rifek on Sat Nov 8th, 2014 at 10:29:06 PM EST
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