Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Rowan Williams quote that's not in the headlines

"We have to question what we mean by growth. The ability to produce more and more consumer goods (not to mention financial products)... sets up a vicious cycle in which it is necessary all the time to create new demand for goods and thus new demands on a limited material environment for energy sources and raw materials. The hectic inflation of demand creates personal anxiety and rivalry. By systematically depleting the resources of the planet, it systematically destroys the basis for long-term wellbeing."

Rowan Williams, as leaked to the Observer today. He's said stuff like this before, but such is our new media goldfish attention span that it's portrayed as news. The ongoing Eurozone crisis, and the global slowdown, is begging the same question: is consumer capitalism sustainable growth, or cancerous?

Of course, it shifts more copy for the Observer to headline on the Tory-bashing stuff about the Big Society. And it's much more comfortable for most of us to read about that, than about the Dark Side of our current economic model and spending habits. The psychological cost of consumer capitalism is epidemic depression, anxiety, insecurity and greed, the environmental cost is a planet that's wasting away. But if that's too depressing to contemplate, we can always buy more stuff to drown out the prophets.

There are also questions to ask about how the paper got hold of the quotes in the first place: it would be supremely ironic if it turned out to be a bit of marketing by the publishers.

1 comment:

  1. So-called 'carbon neutral' energy solutions are similarly flawed. Energy need vs energy greed?