An article by Lalith Gunaratne, CACOR member.
Our world hinges on the economic value of GDP. The combined value of paid work and what we produce, complemented by growth, is the measure ingrained into our heads from the beginning of our journey in modern life.
I encounter this as a business consultant when a CEO says, “This year we had a turnover of 10 million dollars, so now let’s make it 12 million.” Often the number is plucked from thin air for the sake of growth. A year later, I am called in to solve the problem of stressed-out employees walking out the door in protest for not having any work-life balance. Talking to people at all levels leads me right back to the CEO’s new target of 12 million dollars.
Economics and Assumptions
The key assumption in economics is: we grow or we languish. Yes, in many business cases, growth is needed for survival. Unfortunately, it has become a mindless mantra that eventually bites back.
The CEO asking for a 2-million-dollar increase in turnover may see the market potential to grow but often ignores the nitty-gritty of the organisation. So growth happens at the expense of the existing employees’ well-being, family life and health – and we wonder why they are walking out!
There are limits to growth when we factor in people. Extend this then to a country, to nature and our planet. Limitless growth becomes problematic, for it means more pollution, deforestation and human suffering. Just as employees need sustenance through nourishment, rest and rejuvenation, our earth needs it too. We cannot keep taking from either without a breakdown.