... is the unquestioned and universally accepted objective of all nations and businesses to 'grow'.
If a country or a significant company posts zero growth, expressions of major concern immediately surface and all sorts of 'gurus' add their hand-wringing words, full of gloom and doom.
Can this be right?
Given that there are finite resources on planet earth and that there is already 7 billions inhabitants, how can all nations and all businesses continue to strive for growth? That is surely unsustainable. Some scientists have carried out serious studies into what they call "Limits to Growth" - http://limits-to-growth.org/ Although their initial publication in 1972 was too pessimistic, nevertheless their central notion that there are finite limits to earth's resources, esp in the light of growing human population is true.
A very worrying report is New Scientist's, 26 May, 2007 "Earth Audit" - http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19426051.200-earths-natural-wealth-an-audit.html This report predicts dire shortages within a 100 years for all kinds of mineral, including uranium and, of course, petroleum. But also other rare minerals that modern high-tech depends on, including iPad, iPod, iPhone, PCs, TVs, car's catalytic converters, batteries needed by new electric cars. In other words, if we don't find alternatives in 100 years, modern society will revert to the stone age!
Also see New Scientist's "How the economy is killing earth" - http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026786.000-special-report-how-our-economy-is-killing-the-earth.html