Growth is a great mantra for economies. Continual growth leads to advancing prosperity; even to the increase in individual wealth. And whether it’s due to nature or nurture, or both, most people prefer the excess caused by growth. And when people get what they prefer then they readily support the government. Thus government’s economists demand growth to appease the ratepayers. And the mantra spins on.

Subsuming to the mantra of growth has brought great prosperity to many people and many civilizations. But everyone knows that growth is limited. People can build only so many homes until there are not enough people to live in them. Japan is a case in point with a population with some of the longest life expectancies; but this expectancy may be instrumental in its ever decreasing population. Equally, there is only so much arable land; though a continual 2percent increase in crop production makes one wonder, “what is the limit?” And then there are the seas. Once imagined to be limitless, these wonders of Earth have proved to have boundaries. While fish capture rates have maintained a steady value of about 85 million tonnes annually, aquaculture has boomed to provide another 85 million tonnes. Will the mantra strike reality?

While people have certainly met their natural goal of maximizing their progeny, is it possible that they are limiting the potential of their progeny?  People may get smarter and invent new ways to garner energy, to grow food and to construct abodes. Now does a mantra of continual growth achieve the best future for the progeny? Or could economists enable our progeny to sing to better?

Les Fleurs


The average human has an incredible memory. A simple sniff might trigger a reminiscence dating back decades. Perhaps of your mother setting a hot apple pie on the window sill to let it cool. We learnt about memory tricks during school. Memorizing large quantities of data to regurgitate on exam day. Eventually, later in life, our memory fades. Fewer details appear. Instead our memory provides vague stimulation to goodness and pleasure.

Then along comes computers. Computers keep our memories. Vast quantities of childhood photographs and videos. No longer do we need memorize data. It gets thrown at our eyes by the megabyte-full. Some is online. One video storage service has over 216,000 years worth of video. Some is off-line. In your personal computer. Totaling both these amounts comes to over 5 zettabytes; that’s 21 zeros. We don’t need our memories anymore. We can use computer storage to revisit any time from our past. Nothing will fade from our memories.

Do we need all these memories? Let’s consider. Not so long ago, in hunter gatherer days, humans had an average life expectancy of 33 years. At that age we were still learning; there wasn’t much to forget. Lifestyles improved and we quickly achieved longer lives. Now, the world average life expectancy is about 72 years. Many places, with high GDPs, have values above 80 years. And higher GDP means greater technology. Technology that places a commensurate higher demand on energy to create storage media, to record data and to replay. Over and over again. To what avail have we replaced our biological memory?