In discussion about ‘growth’, it is always obvious that unbounded fysical growth in a finite world cannot be possible. What confuses the discussion is that many economic activities don’t need fysical resources, with the result that some stocks and flows of ‘goods’ don’t seem to need fysical resources. What confuses things further is that the unit used for ‘value’ is usually money, which is itself not fysical, but a social construct.
Question 1: which categories of value can grow (nearly) without bound?
social candidates: knowledge, understanding, love, care, community
natural candidates: biodiversity, complexity
Question 2: it seems that these categories of goods are often fragile, easy to destroy? Does that mean that demanding anti-fragility denies the greatest potential of value?
Question 3: is it even possible to objectively quantify the value of these goods? So how can we even know how much is lost when it is lost? Or what is the value of ‘growth’? Does that matter?
Question 3: are there limits anyway? Due to world population, energy use, etc? Does that matter, if they are still very far away?
Question 4: what is the role of ‘money’, as it is the social construct that we use to assign value to most goods. A construct that has no objective basis in fysical reality. And therefor ‘money’ can in principle grow for ever, but may then disconnect from what we perceive as valuable.
Question 5: what does this mean for economics and opportunities for humanity? Can growth be (nearly) ‘sustainable’ if we find a way to value those types of work that can create these goods that can (still) grow (nearly) without bound?
Question 6: does doughnut economics help define these types of questions about growth? Are there answers? Or is quantitative growth just the wrong word in this context?