“The world says: “You have needs — satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don’t hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more.” This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
When I look at how our leaders are fixated on growth as the only single possible target for their business or Nation I have to wonder if they have really spent any time thinking through the logic behind this rather superficial and impossible goal.
The simple fact is endless growth is impossible.
If you disbelieve me try and spend some time thinking about things that grow endlessly bigger, all the time, forever.
Yes I know there are none. That is because it is impossible.
Not only is endless growth impossible it is actually harmful as a goal.
Why are our Nations in such terrible economic situations? Our Leaders have decided that growth and increase are to be sought at the expense of all other considerations.
When industrial production ceased to be physically capable of endlessly increasing earned wealth our leaders decided to switch from models of earning wealth as a return for work completed to a model of creating debt to sustain the illusion of growth.
This illusion of debt as a means for growth is in the process of collapse.
The sad fact is that anyone who has an open mind and the will to think agrees that our planet lacks the resources to sustain limitless growth as a strategy. And yet even though we may intellectually agree that it is madness, we continue.
Our companies continue to aim for endless growth, with never ending increases in sales. Our banks seek to lend endlessly with never ending increases in debt. Our families seek to consume ever more, with an expectation of never ending increases in the numbers of phones we have, cars we drive, bigger TVs, larger meals, etc, etc.
In the service industries, we have gone from seeking excellence, to a mindset of just good enough, to the eventual state of “get them through the door as quickly as possible”. In this final stage the customer is no longer respected and incompetence and apathy rapidly replace competence and reliability.
Always more – if quality drops.. Who cares?
If there is not enough supplies of a raw product then lie to the consumer about the raw product (horse meat can become prime steak, pork, or even fish with enough additives).
The grip of this ideology of endless growth as THE ONLY GOAL becomes addictive and robs us of our morals and is doomed to fail – if only because of the laws of physics.
So the plea of this post is for leaders and aspiring leaders to take a step back from the hypnotic thrall of the lemming rush to endless growth. Look for other ways that your organization can differentiate itself from its competition.
If you have become so brainwashed by the priests of greed and growth that it is impossible for you to imagine alternative targets then look at quality, simplicity and sustainability combined with some good old fashioned honesty. These may be highly unfashionable concepts but they work.