Let us start by looking into the conditions for sustainable growth first. As I mentioned in the previous article on World Game we humans use more resources of our planer Earth than are regenerated on an ongoing basis (see: https://www.overshootday.org/ ).
This simple statement means that our situation on Earth is not sustainable in long term and unwanted consequences start popping up in avery area of our existence. Next we need to realize that mainstream economic theory is based on our material growth as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP: "GDP measures the monetary value of final goods and services—that are bought by the final user—produced in a country in a given period of time (say a quarter or a year)." see:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product ). This definition of GDP cuts through the appearances and makes complicated things simple. It implicitly means that ultimately there needs to be more and more goods and services consumed by one consumer and more and more consumers in the given economy for that economy to keep growing. Hence we need one consumer to own more cars, a few more sofas, maybe a collection of paintings. We need that consumer to buy more services as well and of course we need more consumers.
Let's wait a moment! Did not we say that we are already using more resources of our planet than it is able to regenerate?
And now do we speak of more goods and services being consumed and more consumers on the horizon?
Is it not a contradiction?
Well yes it is and a strong one for that matter. Any attempts to connect the two words: material growth and sustainability are contradictory and perhaps erroneous or misleading by those using them.
So how could we fulfill our urge to evolve and to grow with sustainability in a true sense?
Let us have a look at the picture of possibilities provided by Four Quadrant methodology:
Four Quadrant methodology offers a view on any reality from 4 points of view: Material/Physical, Emotional/Relational, Mental/Planning for Futures and Existential/Integrative points of view. If we draw a picture of Four Quadrants with these four point of view as areas and place GDP into bottom Material/Physical area we see an empty map with one point of GDP which measures material growth on it, (see: picture). As you may already notice the three empty quadrants contain immaterial aspects of our life (as compared to cars and sofas), which yearn for growth.
Those three areas are important for our happy life are they not?
This immediately tells us that there is imbalance in the picture for Four Quadrant sustainable growth. Do we not need some aspects of Emotional/Relational life to contribute to our balanced happy life? Or freedom of mental thinking activity and space to plan freely for our futures? Or to indulge in contemplative moments to integrate life's moments?
I suggest a small brainstorming game to you reader. Take this picture of Four Quadrant map with a lonely point of GDP copy it on a plain piece of paper and ask yourself: How satisfied on a scale from 1 to 10 am I with such measure of growth in our life? Then brainstorm metrics - measures for growth you would like to be monitored in all four quadrants to measure our harmonious balanced life. Write them into the map one by one as they come to your mind. Finally ask yourself again: And how satisfied would I be with this new complex measure of growth for our life?
Then compare the results and enjoy the thoughts and feelings about the possibilities.