#149 Growing or Dying

"The Christian Economist" with logo and a closeup of a dollar bill in the background

Negative growth via socialism is being forced to live with less.  Growth via free market capitalism is choosing to do more with less. 


It’s all about power.  The serpent told Eve that if she ate the apple, SHE would be God.  Things have not changed that much.  People still want to be god, and they attempt to become god by having power over others.  In a previous generation, the political term was Communism which used the Economic concepts of Socialism.  Today, they’re calling it The Great Reset.  It’s the title of my podcast #112.  Their long-term plan is to cause so much chaos that we will beg them to take over.  I asked Ginger, “Why would George Soros donate money to defund the police in Austin, Texas?  Answer: When chaos breaks out, we cede more power to the government to quell the violence.

Harking back to my days in Management, I used to tell groups, “They call it an ORGANIZATION because it is a growing thing.  Like your skin, which is shedding cells as we’re sitting here, the organization is an organ.  It’s either growing or dying.  There is no stable state.”

Yet, we as humans WANT a stable state.  Sorry, not on this side of heaven.  Your organization is either growing or dying.  Your business is growing or dying.  Your church is growing or dying.  Your marriage is growing or dying.  The economy is growing or dying.  

In the economics textbook, I use at Dallas Baptist University, the author Gregory Mankiw states it very clearly: Policies either cause efficiency when society gets the maximum benefits from its scarce resources.  This is called growing the size of the pie.  Or Policies seek equality, where there is a distribution of economic prosperity uniformly among the members of society.  These policies are concerned with how the pie is divided into individual slices.  Everything involving redistribution is no-growth because it steals productive capital and uses power to give it to someone else.  This violates the 8th commandment: Don’t steal.  

I boldly announce in class: Each policy can be put into only one category, meaning: The policy either grows the pie or divides the pie.  My students are watching one of the clearest examples of both, in back-to-back presidential administrations: Trumpenomics grew the pie, and Bidenomics is distributing it. 


The Degrowth Craze

Andy Kessler, writing in the Wall Street Journal recently, calls it “The Deadly De-Growth Craze: Stagnant societies eventually slide into oppression, chaos, anarchy and ruin”  

Mr. Kessler writes, “The modern world is constantly subjected to crackpot movements that eventually fail, but not before causing serious damage. Karl Marx was a crackpot.  The latest is Modern Monetary Theory and unlimited dollar creation for government spending, which caused today’s runaway inflation.”  I explain in greater detail the foolishness of Modern Monetary Theory, in podcast # 31 titled the Myth of Modern Monetary Theory.  But for today, I’ll summarize by emphasizing it IS a myth.  You can change economic policy, but you can’t change economic law.  Modern Monetary Theory attempts to change economic law and fails miserably. 

Mr. Kessler reports that the no-growth crowd demands that we put well-being ahead of profit.  Hold it.  Let’s take a peek behind the curtain of these great Oz pretenders.  They’re assuming that profit does NOT produce well-being.  Profit is well-being because it creates more jobs instead of government honeypots to pay people not to work. Growth is fuel. That computer you’re watching this podcast on: They’re trying to tell you that’s NOT well-being.  Neither is any prescription drug you took this morning, nor that very safe car you’re driving that gets 35 miles to the gallon, nor the internet that transmitted your church service during the pandemic: None of those are considered well-being by the no-growth crowd.  Being poor, THAT’s their definition of well-being.  

The World Economic Forum contains a video asking, “What would a post-economic-growth world look like?”  I’ll save you the pain of looking at the WEF website: It would look like a world without computers, modern pharmaceuticals, efficient cars, and the internet.  Those are all relatively new developments produced by a world that relied on efficiency as defined by Mr. Mankiw and Growth as defined by Andy Kessler.  


Living with Less

This stupid de-growth movement would eventually devolve into chaotic food riots and nighttime raids of drug stores.  Hmm if that looks familiar in California and other Democratically-run states, maybe the devious plan of Mr. Soros is working.   That’s what happened in the Roman Empire, the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Venezuela.  De-growth leads to scarcity, then to command and control.  They’ve tried this with healthcare and education.  As mentioned earlier, they are now working on the police departments.  

Winston Churchill famously said, “You don’t make the poor richer by making the rich poorer.”  And the Dave Arnott extension is as follows, “Making the rich poorer, makes the poor, poorer.”  


The Christian Worldview

The Christian Worldview says we should live relatively simple lives.  Sometimes, Christians have been purposely poor.  But please notice the operative verb: Purposely.  They made the CHOICE to be poor.  What we’re experiencing today from the Davos crowd, is virtue-signaling experts who claim they are better than us, telling us that it’s better for US to be poor. 

You’re probably thinking about a scripture that a podcast viewer posted on my YouTube channel recently, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then, come, follow me.”  That’s from Matthew 19:21.  I was tempted to ask whose computer he was typing on.  Alright, just some brief theology here: That message from Jesus was to THAT specific man, because although money is not the root of all evil, the LOVE of money is, and it was the view of Jesus that this man could only find peace and salvation by giving away everything.  Now, if God has called you to do that, go ahead, and may God bless you.  But: What we’re missing here, and Socialists miss it all the time, is the exercise of POWER.  The Davos crowd is saying it’s better for THEM to make decisions for YOU.  Even Jesus – whom we believe was God – didn’t take away the man’s goods.  He told HIM to make the CHOICE.  You see, when you have a choice, people choose to flee socialist systems and escape to free-market capitalist societies, as they are now doing in Venezuela, and as they have done for years in Cuba.  Interesting, I don’t know of any stories of people actually CHOOSING to immigrate to Cuba.  But that’s what the de-growth group is trying to do: Instead of forcing you to move to Cuba, they’re trying to bring Cuba to you.  Don’t let them. 

Who could be against raising living standards and reducing poverty? Central planners, that’s who. The no-growth crowd would rather shuffle stuff around. That’s their power. 


Except Government

Interesting that the no-growth crowd wants you to have less of everything, except governmental control.  They’re all for a larger government, and the IRS just got the money to hire 87,000 new agents.  I explain the Christian Worldview of that movement in podcast #140 titled The IRS Targets the Proletariat.  

While lecturing in Moscow, one cold March night in 1993, an MBA student asked me why more western companies didn’t invest in Russia.  I had just completed my dissertation on US-Russian Joint Ventures, so I probably gave a very long, boring answer, which ended with a comment about the inability of Western firms to make long-term plans in the uncertain political environment of Russia.  One of the students responded, “Oh, we used to have plans.  Five-year plans!”  The entire class erupted into laughter.  That’s because the five-year plans never worked.  Margaret Thatcher told Michael Gorbachev, “My job is much easier than yours.  My economy runs itself, I don’t have to plan it.”   Central Planning STILL does not work is the title of my podcast #76.  


Capitalism is Humanity’s Greatest Invention

That statement by Whole Foods founder, John Mackey is still ringing in my head.  He might be right.  Growth is how we take people out of poverty.  In my lifetime, the world’s share of the population in extreme poverty has been reduced from 44% to just over 8%.  That’s just astounding.  A vibrant, growing economy serves the poor more than the rich.  And that’s very clear.  In their book SuperAbundance, Marian Tupy and Gail Pooley point out that about 2% of increased value is captured by entrepreneurs like Steven Jobs, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos.  The other 98% is spread among the poor, by providing computers and delivering products that enrich their lives.  

I was having dinner with some DBU students last week and a student from Colombia talked about his youth, “Everyone wanted to immigrate to Venezuela,” he explained excitedly.  Then he started ticking off the scarcity caused by Socialism, in the once great nation: Inflation, food shortages, and militarized police, which caused a third of the population to flee the country.  Oh a side note here, I purposely withdrew from the conversation so I could listen to his convincing argument to his very agreeable American counterpart.  I’ll tell you if a Pew study shows that 65% of American college students would vote for a Socialist, there were none at that table, or perhaps in the entire cafeteria.  Another side note: This generation is NOT going to hell in a handbasket.  I often advise people, “If you get disheartened by bad news, just visit the chapel at DBU.  You will be surrounded by a thousand young people singing praises to God.  You will come away refreshed and confident, and you will agree with me: This generation is gonna be okay.

De-growth via socialism is being forced to live with less.  Growth via free market capitalism is choosing to do more with less.