Living With Less

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Living With Less

We don't have to learn to live with less overall. We will certainly have a slower rate of growth in the future in the industrialized countries than at limes in the past. This is one reason we don't need to be so aroused about the supply of savings and resulting capital for investment. It was once held that the rich, having more than they could spend, had no choice but to save. So they became social benefactors, the source of capital. The argument was never wholly persuasive - rather like the case for economizing on food by giving a few more than they could eat and starving the rest. But, for a long while, most saving and capital formation had not been by individuals, rich or poor. It has been by corporations out of earnings that they do not distribute to their stockholders.

We earlier mentioned the convergent tendencies of capitalism and socialism. There is another example here. Both modern capitalism and modern socialism agree that if you want income saved, you must keep it out of the hot, eager hands of people who have the choice of spending it. The decision on what to save and what to invest in both systems is made not by people but for people.

We suppose to some extent In the late sixties students, of whom We used to see a great deal, were in general retreat from the values of the consumer society. One manifestation was the rejection of its manners and dress. Nothing caused our generation such discontent as the sudden abandonment by the young of razors, haircuts and regular bathing and the seeming satisfaction in shabby clothes. But in the United States the Vietnam war and the hot breath of the draft boards were probably more important. They did more than alter attitudes about the consumer society; for a time they even threatened the basic student commitment to sex, alcohol and athletics.


Interested in Economic Growth?

Unrestrained Growth

What little reputation we retain as a Bolshevist, We've often said, comes from having questioned the virtue of unconsidered, unrestrained growth. My concern, though, was not with the exhaustion of our supplies of raw materials - petroleum, metallic ores or what have you. It was with what mindless growth was doing to our surroundings, to the environment. We should, we urged, balance the rewards of growth against the damage to air, water, tranquillity and, above all, the landscape. Men of uncomplicated mind were then saying, in effect, that economic growth solved all problems. Given an adequate... see: Unrestrained Growth


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