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How to escape the growth trap!

By Uwe Burka

To avoid the social, environmental and economic problems it causes

Alternative technologies are being proposed to solve global environmental and economic problems. It is said that electric cars and even 5G systems can save the climate. – Meanwhile, our male-dominated neoliberal economic system remains untouched, with its relentless debt money-driven push for growth* and excessive speculative markets**. This growth model dominates and destroys the supposedly unproductive female-oriented areas of life, including cultural development, creative education, art, health, social security, decentralization, and nature, soil and climate protection. The established parties, including the Greens, simply continue to adhere to this one-sided system.

Greed and avarice are rewarded. The war of “everyone against everyone” (and thus against nature) continues to spread. Politics and the media contribute massively with their polarizations: Right against left, climate activists against anxious taxpayers, environmentalists against technocrats, 5G and vaccination critics against mobile phone and pharmaceutical lobbies, West against East, NATO sympathizers against Putin sympathizers, etc. In the shadow of these skirmishes, which can be elevated to warfare, the neo-liberal machinations continue. While two argue, the third rejoices.

The monetary and economic system based on growth has become so independent that the whole of humanity is hypnotized by its constraints. As in the game of Monopoly, however, only one can win!

While China increasingly dominates the world economically with the takeover of ever new logistics and trade centres, the USA continues to expand its leadership on the military and cyber level. Between the two fronts, Europe naively supports both sides, while it could be building a new, sustainable and humane system from the “middle” and inspire the rest of the world with it!

Churches, social reformers, environmentalists or extremists (no matter from which side) recognize the hardships that arise from the neoliberal system, but really system-changing counterproposals are rarely worked out. It would therefore be of little use to wrest power from the top 10 million people of our world community, since the rest of mankind knows no way out of the growth dilemma either.

How do we get out of this vicious circle that so massively threatens man and earth?

Those people who have developed a new consciousness should move into the center of our activities! Our potential for spiritual and social development is infinite. By contrast, the possibilities for material development are finite, and so are those for the current monetary system and proposed alternative technologies. We urgently need a paradigm shift! Central Europe could trigger this change.

First, we must look to the fundamental systemic errors that threaten our very existence, and work to overcome them! The following outlines fundamental thoughts and tasks that can lead us out of our deadly growth constraints:

1. The economy and money must serve man rather than the reverse. “Freedom, equality and fraternity,“ the values promoted in the French Revolution, clarify the goal.

“Fraternity” is an element of economic life. How can we organize the economy “fraternally”? How can we “fraternally” satisfy each other’s needs? In practical life we do this to a large extent already through the division of labour; e.g. the truck driver does not transport goods for himself but for his fellow men. Only in our heads and with our hearts do we usually work for our own wallets. The further away man moves from the “real” economy, the more pronounced we find this self-referential phenomenon. A healthy economy will be “associatively” organised, with producers, service providers, traders and consumers striving for a fair balance of interests.

“Freedom” belongs to the intellectual/spiritual life, the “free development of abilities” through religion, creative education, research and art. Our cultural life can thus become more and more alive. The world of the economy and the state should support this “free” development but not intervene.

“Equality” belongs to the legal system and to politics. Do these organs really ensure “equal” citizens’ rights, a fair monetary system, independent news, industry-independent risk assessments for pesticides, GEN plants, vaccines, 5G, etc.? Probably not. – A fundamental rethinking, re-feeling and re-action should be on the agenda in order to reorient social life in these three areas.

2. The hollowing out of the real economy, including social structures, culture and nature, by profit-seeking speculators** must be banished as soon as possible! (Approximately 50% of the prices paid today migrate to the fast growing speculative world!) Financial movements (no matter in which form) and speculative profits, including profits from land and real estate should be taxed, just as lottery gambling is already heavily taxed today! Speculation taxes will cause gigantic values to remain in the real economy and be available for the development of the feminine economic side (social, cultural and environmental). (A picture: the gambling addicted father should have a part of his salary seized and given to his family for the development of their lives).

The “micro-tax” movement in Switzerland would now like to make a start with a tax of 0.03% on all financial transactions (3 centimes to CHF 100). Even this small rate brings about CHF 60 billion a year and should make the VAT and the federal tax obsolete. There is even CHF 15 billion left over for other tasks. Because the benefits for the people and the “real” economists are great, there is a real opportunity to collect the 100,000 signatures required for this and get this initiative through in a referendum. http://www.mikrosteuer.ch The micro-tax will only be a door opener to higher rates to further limit speculation.

3. How can the “money and economic growth constraint “* by the creation of money through credit be stopped? First of all, the commercial banks should be deprived of the privilege of creating money through loans! This is also what the full money (?) movement wants. If the money were also constantly “aging” or being “slowly devalued”, as happens with physical goods, it would start to flow. A “development interest rate” of perhaps 1% per month would discourage the hoarding of money and give it “circulation impulses”. The constant withdrawal of money through the “development interest rate” makes it necessary, on the other hand, to constantly make new money injections into the economy. How is new money to be created if it is no longer possible to do it through new debts? The central bank can simply create the new money, in an amount that creates neither inflation nor deflation (e.g a defined (bio) food basket should keep the same price in the long run). And where should the new money be introduced into the economic cycle? The newly created money should be a “gift” to environmental projects and educational institutions for the “development” of life and the promotion of new future ideas and talents! In this way, culture and the environment can develop “freely”. Many meaningful jobs for a better future would be created in this way. Today’s “compulsive” environmentally damaging overproduction would no longer be necessary. Who determines where and to whom the “donations” go? Not the politicians, because they have too much self-interest in attracting new voters. An elected non-self-interested council of elders and/or cultural and environmental council should carry out this task of donations! They can best oversee where and how the money can meaningfully serve the development of humans and nature. Each citizen could, for example, receive education coupons.

4. Intelligent “taxes” can also accelerate the healing process: Everything that damages humans and nature would have to be taxed heavily! For example, toxic agricultural chemicals, fossil and other raw materials, high capital concentrations, land ownership above the national average and above-average use of living space. Conversely, what promotes man and nature should be rewarded! Such as educational and environmental projects as well as regional currencies for regional development. Working people could finally be exempted from taxes and social security contributions! Services for social and cultural development would become much more favorable. Ecologically and socially acceptable products would also become cheaper.

5) With the consistent introduction of the above proposals we could regain control over our oppressive financial system. To achieve this goal, it will be necessary to build alliances on a broad front. Groups that today are polarized need to recognise that only by working together can we fight against financial dictatorship. It would be particularly promising if the climate activists were to join in this effort. After all, success on the climate issue is directly linked to overcoming the neoliberal growth system. Ideally, Switzerland (or, as a precursor, the Lake Constance region with its many forward-looking projects) could achieve a breakthrough with a new monetary and economic system. The benefits for humans and nature could be so great that other countries would be inspired to follow suit.

In order to remain clear and emotion-free in these healing processes, we should be very careful not to allow ourselves to be further polarized. In general, we should not accept offered news, no matter from which side, without reflection as “the truth”. Usually, considering several points of view is necessary to get close to the truth. It should be borne in mind that the systemic problems listed here and approaches to solving them are virtually ignored in public media. But this broader view is essential, because the financial elite with their servants in politics and the media will do everything in their power to counter attempts to change the situation. An (initially internal) “liberation” of the media from capital and political interests is therefore urgently required.

If we don’t manage to stop the all-consuming financial system, then sooner or later there will be a chaotic collapse with all its consequences. The question that would arise after a crash is whether enough exemplary social, environmental, monetary and economic models have developed at regional levels by then, which could be adopted on a grand scale for reconstruction. Otherwise the old elite, even more dictatorial, would rebuild the same neo-liberal system. The only thing that remains for us is to actively begin to build up new life-supporting financial and social structures in an exemplary way.

Old intellectual-materialistic forms of thought, which have brought us the problems of today, are unsuitable for shaping a better future. We need more and more committed people who can also “think and develop the future”. For such an “expanded” thinking, however, we need healthy “nourishment” and better protection against increasing electronic radiation exposure. Serious meditation can also bring up new ideas from the spiritual world that are unknown today. Our future depends on these meditatively acquired intuitive forces. (On the other hand, the feel-good meditations that are now spreading tend to lead into an illusionary world.) The spiritual and social development potential of human beings is unlimited!

Another of the fundamental tasks ahead of us will be the reconstruction of humus in agricultural soils. (see e.g. www.bodenfruchtbarkeit.bio). The rewards will include a reduction of CO2 values in the air, a much richer ecology, healthier food and more enjoyment in walking across the countryside, especially if we do this with children and like-minded colleagues of a community supported agriculture (CSA).

*Growth compulsion: New money is created today by debt (more than 90% by commercial banks). Since a debtor has to pay back more than he has taken up and has to earn it somewhere on the market, the market (our society) is forced to produce more and more and to make new money through debt. In order that the system does not collapse, excessive money is now pumped into the market (which mainly ends up in the speculative markets). Today’s negative interest rates on loans “seduce” further excesses. This “money and economic growth constraint” can only end in collapse! Collapse is delayed by even more debts or provoked wars, which destroy asset values, in order to create them again through new growth. Even if we should manage to keep this financial system going for another 10 years, massive collapses will occur in other areas of life. Already today social systems, ecological systems, medical supply networks, educational institutions, traffic systems, raw material reserves, supply and disposal systems etc. are under massive pressure worldwide and have partly already collapsed! The result is an ever-increasing flow of refugees.

** Excessive speculation, i.e. earning money through money, is sucking more and more value out of the real economy, cultural life and nature. This includes speculation in soil and living space. (The constantly rising rents have their cause here). Approximately 50% of prices paid today go into the speculative markets! 70 times more money moves in the speculative bubble than in the real economy! (In comparison: until 1980 the real economy was stronger than the speculative economy). Not only money but also economic and political power migrate from working people to the speculating rich, or to the increasingly dominant USA and China. A functioning democracy no longer exists.


Uwe Burka is an international consultant for economic, ecological and settlement development. He helped to develop two social-ecological village communities with new economic forms. In his book “Jeder kann die Zukunft mitgestalten (Everybody can help shape the future)”, he discusses today’s problems and how they can be overcome. – Free of charge as book or electronically under: www.aktivZUKUNFTsichern.com . He helps to prepare a “system-changing” human economy in the Bernese Oberland https://vorwaertsbeo.ch/#toggle-id-8 , in the Lake Constance region www.menschliche-wirtschaftskultur.org and in the Freiburg region, where the positive experiences of the Chiemgauer, Roland Bremen, Bristol Pound, Sardex sardines, WIR bank Switzerland, GLS bank etc. will be integrated. Particularly important for him is the creation of development funds for an active education and the recreation of topsoil.

– Please share with your colleagues and friends –

Uwe Burka, La Vulpillière 10, CH 1070 Puidoux, uweburka@posteo.org

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