中文 English

Social Development Does Not Mean Economic Growth

The essay ‘‘The Continuous Development of Economy is Not Good’’ that I wrote on my blog a few days ago has raised the attention of many friends. Some of them criticized that human society would never go forward without economic development.

My opinion is actually more radical. I think the economy should keep its level after per capital GDP reaches a certain degree, and not go any further. At the same time, the world population must be significantly decreased. This is in fact requiring a great drop-off in total economic output around the globe, and only then can the human species live longer.

Let us do some math. Since the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, the world population has increased by nearly ten times, and todays per capita GDP has gone up by 50 times. This implies 500 times the burden on Earth, including 500 times the resource consumption, environmental pollution and ecological damage, etc. The more horrible thing is that the number doubles itself every twenty to thirty years.

As a matter of fact, the present consumption level is already unbearable for the earth. The long lasting existence of human species on earth can only be achieved based on the balance between the further productive capacity of earth and humanitys consumption capacity, which is the application of only renewable resources on earth to fulfill human demands. Therefore, no increase in the per capita economic scale and a great drop in global population are two basic and necessary conditions for the long-term survival of human beings.

This is an unacceptable conclusion to the general public, but a brutal fact.

Speaking of the stability of the economy, many asked in reply that since the spirit civilization is determined by the material civilization, will society be further developed without growth in the economy? I was also asked by the reporter from the Green Company, ‘‘Do you mean that we should just live like walking corpses?’.

My answer is that social development is not equal to economic growth. Delon studied the slow pace of economy during the long agricultural civilization and reckoned the per capital GDP increased only one time during a period of near 15000 years. However, the major civilized powers of the world today all took roots in the then-established foundation.

The maturity and brilliance of western civilization that leads the world can be traced back to the classical Greek civilization over 2000 years ago and the origins of the Christian religion later after that near 2000 years ago. The splendor of Chinese civilization can be earlier dated from pre-Qin to the early Han Dynasty more 2000 years ago, or later from Tang and Song Dynasties 1000 plus years ago. The Indian civilization developed to its glorious period even before the Chinese. The establishment of the Islamic civilization is relatively later, but also with a history of more than 1000 years. These civilizations presented enduring culture, art and thoughts that influenced posterity in the peak period and imprinted specific civilized distinctions on all of us deeply.

As we can see, our creative ability in material wealth is many times higher than the ancient people, but the ability to make spiritual civilization is scarcely comparable to that of our predecessors. Thus, social development equals no economic growth. Under stable economic circumstances, humans are creators of glorious and magnificent culture, art, thoughts and happy life, not walking corpses.

Please visit my website at www.hujiaqi.com (The human studies in which I have been engaged for the past 30 years have shown that the continued development of science and technology will soon extinguish humanity. It is a matter of life or death and of unparalleled importance to mankind. It is mankinds biggest problem, and we need to wake up in order to save ourselves from extinction. We must achieve great world unification, and the basic conditions are ready. Only we need is to reach an commom opinion, that is the people in the world should wake up.)