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I agree that the austerity v growth dialogue is a false binary. Life often isn't just an either-or proposition. There are many shades, if you like, in between; as well as other options outside (given the imagination) of the binary.

Also I agree that resource constraints (diminishing resources and/or competition) must play a part in the complex equation that have limited growth potential. The neo-classical idea that capital is a creator of resources, especially as a substitute for basic resources like oil, is laughable.

One of the big themes during my time on Wall Street back in the 80s was the lament about the lack of new "horizon" industries, that is, entirely new industries like computing that would both require new hardware and software to spur growth by taking earth's resources, mineral and human, and converting them into investment opportunities - i.e. money for the bankers. I'm sure this part of the equation weighs heavily on future growth prospects as well. Funny money chasing too few new investment opportunities, and instead seeking rentier income that is slowly draining the life blood from our economies. (In Ireland they had their first reported case of child malnutrition. Apparently this isn't uncommon. Just not reported. And forget about the suicide rate that is sky-rocketing. Greece, forgedda about it!)

Of course the entire dialogue is severly constrained by how we define growth. The current debate demands we grow as we did previously, by taking already diminishing resources in their virgin states and turning them into ever more commodities.

An alternative would to be the growth of powering-down. Put some people to work dismantaling some infrastructure and reforming it. Take others to rebuild. Put more people on the land. Use any energy left wisely and frugally. Cut the birth rate by at least half world wide.

Ain't, never going to happen.

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