Getting Smarter, Not Bigger

Never – ending growth is impossible.

The time has surely arrived when mankind must accept that perpetual growth as a model for the global future is simply unsustainable and that we must adopt a new creed if our descendents, fifty years hence, are to have a world fit to live in. Peter Austin, The Land Newspaper, 24/05/12

Since the World War 11, our economic system has relied on perpetual growth, that is, our capacity to produce more and more goods and services. It’s success depends on an ever-growing population that consumers increasing amounts of energy and resources.

It’s common sense that perpetual growth in a finite world is impossible. He’s benefited from growth more than most, but even so, this doesn’t make me believe that it can go on forever. I can see that as we approach the limits of growth, social and environmental problems will increase.

Yet the mainstream media constantly tells us that we have only choices – growth and recession. Surely there must be an alternative? I personally believe it’s possible to run our economic system without constant growth in the use of resources and energy. It’s a case of getting smarter, not bigger. We need a plan to develop a viable system based on improving quality of life by growth in efficiencies, satisfaction and happiness, rather than population and consumption.

Sadly, our media corporations have become part of the problem, rather than presenting a forum for solutions. Most have a “grow profit at all costs” agenda that prevents journalists from communicating our economic system can’t grow forever. When was the last time you read an editorial encouraging our political leaders to develop a sustainable economic plan, one that doesn’t reply on an increasing use of resources and energy?

Without such planning, the problems for typical Aussies could become even worse, as big business desperately claws for every last bit of profit.

I believe our economy is moving into a phase I call, “extreme capitalism.” The only way big business can grow profits is by taking over competitors or ruthlessly beating down a supplier’s prices, either sacking workers to reduce costs or shifting operations overseas for cheaper labour. In fact, it’s already happening.

Surely this is not the Australia we want, especially when, with proper leadership and planning, we can move to a stabilised system in which wealth is more equitable shared. Sooner or later we will need to find an alternative to constant growth. Now is the time to prepare for it.{Forbidden Idea #4 by Dick Smith}


Today, I picked up Dick Smith’s Magazine of Forbidden Ideas. Sure the magazine promotes his aussie products, but at the core of it, brings to light issues that are important to all of us such as things like the quality of food we eat, ownership of our farmlands, the widening gap between rich and poor. Also highlighting the major challenges we face with the aim of promoting discussion and positive change. I found it to be a refreshing read, and didn’t even mind reviewing his promotional content. But at the heart of it, which really got under my skin is the intention from media ownership in foreign hands.

The above article Getting Smarter, Not Bigger is taken exactly as it appears in his Forbidden Magazine.  The Murdock press has attacked Dick when he calls for fair balance of Australian ownership in our food industry. More than 10 years ago, when Dick first started Dick Smith Foods, Dennis Shananhan, one of it’s top journalists, claimed that he was, “feeding paranoia” and “jingoism” . Just recently Sydney’s The Sunday Telegraph described Dick’s marketing as “simplistic and ultra-nationalistic” with a “faintly sinister overtone of strident nationalism.” It even linked it to the “provocations of the Cronulla race riots.” Are you kidding?!

If Dick is supporting Australian owned businesses, so the profits and jobs stay in Australia. Surely, that’s got to be a great benefit to people of Australia? Could it be that they are embarrassed by the fact that the Murdoch press, which controls about 70% of our print media, is American-=owned and each year sends substantial profits out of Australia? Murdoch journalists have told Dick – off the record of course, “Dick you are correct. This growth can’t go on forever, but we wouldn’t have much of a career here if this was mentioned.”

And here lies the problem. When media proprietors are obsessed with profit growth, freedom of speech and open debate is stifled. Politicians have told Dick that they wouldn’t dare mention that perpetual growth is unsustainable for fear of being attacked by the Murdoch media and others in big business. Dick believes, this deception and suppression of open discussion stops us from planning for a more stable sustainable economic system. Even after the challenges he has faced with re-launching Dick Smith Foods from Murdoch, praises Murdoch for his business acumen and success, and even encourages Rupert to come back to Australia and become our greatest philanthropist.

Dick Smith passionately believes in the importance of an Australian food industry. He prepared his magazine to go as a paid advertising insert in 2.4 million newspapers across Australia. He was absolutely staggered when Mr Kim Williams – the CEO of the Murdoch press in Australia – after only seeing the cover, rejected his magazine and the $180,000 he would pay to run the insert in his papers. He suspects it is about protecting the big foreign-owned multinationals who are major advertisers and have no interest in food security in our country. Quite frankly, this is a disaster for the re-launch of Dick Smith Foods, as the Murdoch press owns 70% of our print media. It also means the magazine will not be available at all in Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart where News Limited has a total monopoly.

If you also believe in free speech, assist Dick by sending Mr Murdoch a tweet (@rupertmurdoch) stating, “Mr Murdoch – tear down this wall. Reverse the Dick Smith censorship”.




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