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“Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product […] counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country.

It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

   – Robert F. Kennedy, University of Kansas, March 18, 1968

unlimited (economic) growth – in my view, the most dangerous assumption underlying the failing systems. we’ve built an ‘intergenerational ponzi scheme’, where we “steal from the future, sell it in the present, and call it GDP.” the quote is from paul hawken, and i found it on the blog of the brilliant kyra choucroun, who wrote a very insightful post on breaking out of the unlimited growth mindset!

i posted the post carbon institute’s brilliant analysis of unlimited growth and its impact on the environment a while ago, well worth taking the time to watch. as naomi klein pointed out in her #occupywallst address, these two issues are inextricably linked: “The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological.”

the script for the video comes from andrew simms, fellow at the new economics foundation (NEF), one of the most important institutions to help us find a way out of the mess we’ve gotton ourselves into. i am very much looking forward to #occupytogether on october 15 and hope it can be a start to turn things around.