Society for a long time has thought that the key to improvement has been economic growth. This is unsustainable in a finite world. Winners mean that there are also losers. The winners though are largely reluctant to make any meaningful sacrifice to their perceived quality of life and thus change is difficult or impossible.
A solution may be found when shocks, or shifts, in the external environment compel, or invite, action. This can be as a result of catastrophes but can also come from changing the institutional framework – rules of the game – which govern people’s activities determining what is, or is not, permitted and encouraged.
One, perhaps the most, important facilitator of economic growth has been improvements to communication – land, sea, air and information. This has enabled the movement of assets, resources, activities and people reshaping the places we live in.
Identifying, and reflecting upon, the numerous facets of communication may surface modifications to the institutional framework that would promote non-growth focused societies which can improve overall real qualities of life. The search for growth is replaced by one for balance.