Economic Growth?

Ha, ha, ha!

One can't help but wonder what the politicans are talking about.

Growth is dead.

The invention of the motor car has stimulated a great deal of growth since the early 1900s, but we have now clearly reached something of a plateau and so we are unlikely to see any form of continued growth in the auto industry. A few minor improvements here or there perhaps, but nothing significant.

Weapons and military equipment have been responsible for a great deal of growth since the late 1800s but again, we seem to have reached a plateau. There might be growth in some specialist areas of weaponry, but for the most part thereís unlikely to be any mainstream growth. (Weíve gone from muskets to ICBMs, but in terms of increased overall growth, where to from here? Contraction is more likely.)

Radio and television or broadcasting has promoted an enormous amount of growth since the early 1900s but again we tend to have reached a plateau and more growth is unlikely. How many radio and television stations can the BBC foist on an unwilling, taxpaying community?

Computers have been responsible for a great deal of growth since the 1950s, but again, apart from some specialist areas, thereís unlikely to be much growth in the future.

Mobile phones were also responsible for a great deal of growth, but now that most people already own a 3G phone, where is the growth going to come from? 4G is really only for people with specialist needs so itís hardly going to lead to a revolution and a great deal of future growth.

Wherever you look it seems there is nothing new to stimulate peopleís spending. Almost everything which promoted growth over the past century and a half has reached virtual saturation point. So the prognosis for the future must be one of no growth.

To give an example. I bought my first calculator in about 1977 and another one in 1978. My first computer arrived in 1982 but within a year I found that two 90k disc drives were simply not enough so I had to fork out a lot for another Osborne 1 with two 180k drives! Then it was a machine with two 360k drives followed by a machine (an Amust) with 800k drives and in 1986 the clamshell laptops appeared. Well, I had a tendency to move around a lot so I just had to have one of those. It cost me about £2,000 for a lowest of the range Toshiba with gas plasma screen. By 1990 I had to upgrade again to a notebook because it had a 20 meg hard drive and 286 processor. Then, in about 1994 I needed a machine with a 386 processor and by 1996 colour screens made the purchase of yet another computer essential. In 1999 there was an affordable laptop with a built in CD drive and after that came a computer with Windows 98. After this I upgraded twice more but in about 2006 my need to spend money on better computers died away. The computer I have now is old, but still really quite adequate. In fact, I imagine that I will only buy another computer when this one dies of old age. But Iím sure Iíll be able to replace it with a five year old one on ebay. For the average person, computer and software growth has reached a plateau and significant further growth is not really to be expected.

Shopping on the internet is not much different from shopping on the high street so thereís no real growth there. Money spent on the internet is simply money which is no longer being spent on the high street.

However, there is growth in gambling but this is just putting money which is presently in the pockets of the many into the pockets of the few and the few spend most of that money on assets. The only consequence of this is that the price of assets will go up so no growth there. (An online casino needs very few employees so all it really does is suck money out the community and then, as time goes by, the community will become poorer due to the shortage of money circulating within it while the cost of secluded mansions, Rembrandts, diamond studded Rolex watches and vinyl LPs signed by John, George, Paul & Ringo will go up and up.)

Definitely no growth on the horizon.

So I sometimes wonder what the politicians are talking about.

---March 27, 2013---

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