Saturday, July 23, 2011

"You have a growth"

Thirty years ago I noticed that I had a lump in my throat.  Not a metaphor. A solid mass which seemed to get bigger every week.

Doctors at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge cut it out. Then they sprayed the site with beta and gamma rays to make as sure as they could that the growth would not come back. (They succeeded.)

Isn't it odd how the same word - "growth" - is used to describe a disease that we fear, and also a cycle of spending and investment which we imagine will keep satisfying new desires?

A healthy organ or organism reaches its mature size and stops growing.  When it doesn't, we call it a tumor. It will grow until its host can no longer support it, and then it and the host will die.

Our economy is an "organ" in the body of the  earth. What would a "mature size" economy look like? What will happen if we keep demanding growth for ever?

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