V-growth distinguishes between those industrial sectors, which should grow and those that need to decline to meet the goals of climate change and social justice.
Whilst the rates of economic growth, as traditionally measured by GDP, have thankfully been declining in most parts of the world over the last 10 or more years, most governments still claim growth is necessary for the equitable and just society we need. Roger believes it is now time to replace this trickle down myth.
Investment in dirty industrial sectors is equivalent to putting out the deck-chairs on the Titanic, just before it sinks. World temperatures have been rising month on month for a number of years and we now need to respond constructively and dynamically, before we too sink beneath the rising seas, expanding deserts and out-of-date popular expectations.
Over the last 250 years, our economic (and associated social) activities have transformed much of the world from an agrarian to an industrialised economy. As a consequence of ever growing consumer aspirations (aided by advertising), we have moved from field rotations to a fertilizer and pesticide rich agriculture, from walking and the horse and cart to car and plane, and from thatched and stone buildings to high-tech concrete hospitals and schools.
The V-growth alternative
The V-growth alternative focuses on using our skills to move from today’s high carbon extractivist structures to a self-sustaining people-orientated economy.
- Employ wind and the sun rather than coal and oil to generate electricity.
- Use electric bicycles and hydrogen-powered buses to get around.
- Grow food closer to where we live.
- Prioritise social and health care over finance and manufacturing.
- Renovate buildings rather than build new blocks.
In short V-growth would focus on people rather than being capital intensive, the community rather than being centralised and managed rather than market-led.
Some may call this green growth, but it would require some planning to combine the new generation of businesses and locally-driven services that would compose a V-economy. In the mid-1990s, Roger contributed to a Greenpeace publication Poland – the Green Tiger of Europe. With the fall of communism, Poland had the opportunity to develop clean technology to power its economy. It flunked the possibility, instead favouring fossil fuel-intensive capitalism.