Questions about growth


Sunflowers by vadjutka

I have been thinking about growth for a while.
To be precise: the limits of growth, and if such thing that “sustainable growth” exists.   I only have questions, no answers.

The basis of economies, the aim of companies – more or less – is constant growth: to produce more in value, than in the previous year. I am a visual type, so I often picture this as we – inhabitants of the world – are a balloon, that gets little bigger and bigger each year, and one day we blow up and fly into space.

But I do not want to fly into space, not even as a space tourist, and I want to live with my planet, my continent, my country, my business happily ever after. But how can I do it, if the logic of things, the ruling paradigm is based on constant growth? Can I drive in the opposite direction compared to the majority of the society?

There must be an answer for this, though I have not found it yet, which is connected to a sort of sustainable growth. What is that? How to do it? But first of all: can growth be sustainable?

What do you think? Any ideas?

10 thoughts on “Questions about growth

  1. What an interesting concept!
    Maybe, we need to look at growth not as something that is ever-expanding, but ever-changing. Instead of looking at our business in terms of size, we could consider evolution. To grow into something slightly different than before.
    Everything that exists must change over time, (I think, I’m not certain about this) but not everything gets bigger.
    Yes, we can drive in the opposite direction. We can drive in any direction we want and as long as we choose a path that benefits the world, then it must be the right one. Even if others disagree.

  2. What an important question, thanks for bringing it up!
    First of all, I dare to say you’re already driving in the opposite direction when you have chosen a handmade life instead of working for a corporation. Then, trying to answer your main question… if we solely thought about the Mother Earth and its valuable resources we would need to stop consuming and producing. To most of us this is not an option. To minimize the damage it is valuable to think about the resources you use to run your business. It doesn’t need to mean you cannot grow but try to find ways how to do it in a sustainable way. Myself I have made a commitment to use as much recycled materials as possible and avoid materials which would ruin the environment. So this is my idea of sustainability. As a one woman business I hope to be able to grow a little bit, but not too much. Things must stay in balance.

  3. As a society and individuals we need to reacquaint ourselves with the idea of “enough”. A company or nation that grows forever becomes a monopoly or empire. But growth is not just defined by expanse, but depth, complexity, and richness. I think of it like an old walled garden, full of life and surprise and depth. Not large like an agri-business, but richer still. The problem is that people don’t agree on enough. They don’t agree on where to wall in their garden and when to settle into conquering depth and complexity instead of just “more”.

    Fabulous post – great things to think through!

  4. I think that growth isn’t necessary to maintain… I am in the growth stage of my business, it still needs to get a little bigger so that I can take care of my kids… however, there is a point where I can plateau… I can only make so much, therefore I can only sell so much… I could choose to sell for more I suppose or I can just keep doing what I’m doing and be happy with this abundant life I live. I could choose time over money, I could choose the environment over more profit… all sorts of choices. I want my children to be happy and healthy and feel loved… after that I don’t NEED anything. When they are grown up and supporting themselves I will in fact require less… I am planning for business decline, which will only make an opening for someone else to grow. It’s the natural cycle.

  5. Growth is like an out stretch hand and it is ours for the taking. Growth is personal experience and not just a financial measuring stick to a business.

    For business it is reaching out to customer’s needs and making them happy. It is getting involved with the people we come in contact with. New ideas are generated and we have the opportunity to grow some more.

    Business is only one side but ties to our personal and spiritual growth. They all hold hands. Growth does not always mean getting bigger like a balloon about to burst. It can me change as well. It can be sort of an evolution. You learn and gain experience in one area and apply it to something new that grows into something else. Growth is a good thing.

    Thanks for the interesting question. It was a growth experience for me.

  6. I would like to approach this from a business point of view…
    In some cases growth is sustainable – look at all the large food companies. They enter new markets (countries), they enter new product categories, the buy other companies and like that they sustain their growth.
    I’m not sure yet what it means for us handmade artists.
    Maybe growth is exploring new techniques? developing new product lines? going into new markets?
    Check out this Israeli designer for example (http://www.michalnegrin.com/) who started with jewelry – now she is in cloths and lifestyle with a very unique connecting theme. That was her growth…

    Like with everything – some grow and some loose the appeal.
    Let’s hope and strive to be growing, what ever growing means to you…

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