In the section of the book titled, The Wall Street Pressure Cooker, starting on the middle of page 162: "Compound interest is the most obvious form of Modernism's commitment to exponential growth. Exponential growth is an upward curve that keeps accelerating without limits_ and it is often viewed in terms of how fast its 'doubling times' are. The doubling sequence of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1,024, 2,048, and so on, goes up to astounding and unreal numbers in just a hundred steps or so. You can tell that dollars doubling like this have become unreal, because they can start to exceed the number of atoms in the universe in a few more steps. If the global economy keeps demanding fast doubling times and using up nature to achieve them, then the death of nature is near. If it accepts doubling times on the order of decades or centuries, we can put off disaster for a while. But on a finite planet, unending exponential growth is physically impossible and it is biologically impossible in terms of the survival of species_ including us. This is something that financiers would just as soon forget.
Suppose a corporation wants to be a good corporate citizen. It is willing to slow down the growth in profits and think about the longer-term future. But the stock market analysts are not happy, and the financiers get the CEO fired. Or a corporate raider comes in. If a whole country acted this way, the currency speculators would drive down its currency. Then the financial analysts with the 'sharp pencils' take over. Jobs are cut, assets and natural resources are sold off, social programs left to die, community philanthropy dries up, and day care in the workplaces goes away. The employees left in the company are traumatized, anxious, and guilty. Ecological destruction has become just one more excuse for getting 'lean and mean.' But the profits! Wall Street goes wild with applause. It's a way for modern capitalism to preserve itself against serious change.
Today, most Cultural Creatives show no signs of knowing how to address this problem. But some excellent new approaches do work for some problems, and they may soon become visible for many Cultural Creatives. Here are several approaches that are particularly engaging."
WILLIAM McDONOUGH, MUHAMMAD YUNUS, PAUL HAWKEN