The FT notes this morning that ‘a 30-year trend of trade growing at twice the speed of the global economy has ended’.
There is wailing and gnashing of teeth at the prospect of the crash to follow. But I suggest another hypothesis. It is that materially many (by no means all) simply have enough ‘stuff’ now and the idea that growth is dependent upon forever having more may be an extrapolation that simply does not hold true anymore.
Three thoughts then follow. The first is that the time for redistribution of material well being is already long overdue and should now happen.
The second is that if we have enough stuff what will the impact be on services?
And thirdly, just possibly, might this suggest we can move to a more enlightened era where the achievement of potential and not the accumulation of material goods becomes the goal of society? I know it’s a long shot, but it has to be mentioned.
If everyone’s got enough then why do we need redistribution? If everyone hasn’t got enough then we need to get on with creating more, don’t we?
And who in buggery has ever said that the goal of society is the acquisition of material goods? Especially given that what 80% (or whatever) of what the society actually does is already services.