News - March 14, 2013


The Netherlands is in the throes of its third recession in succession, according to the figures published by Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics.

Economists talk of a 'triple dip' and their analyses are coming thick and fast. Gloom reigns. It is all in the mind, is the conclusion heard most often. Once confidence in the economy returns, it will all be alright. Then we will start consuming more, which will give production a boost and employment with it. And at the same time: large companies are being merged into even larger companies. Farms are turning into megafarms. I have just read about a megafarm in Russia that has recently upped its pig production to 180,000 tons live weight (that is the terminology used).  
Back in 1973, British economist Ernst Friedrich Schumacher wrote a book called Small is beautiful. Keep it small, he said, one year after the report by the Club of Rome, now forty years ago. And since then no economist has been able to explain to me what is wrong with the ideas expressed in these studies.
In the past few weeks I have kept waking up with fragments of a dream in my mind. Always the same dream. I am a soldier standing guard at the gate of a city. On the plain outside the city walls I can make out a giant wooden horse with a group of citizens milling around it. They are trying with all their might to drag the outsized object into the city. There are letters written on the horse's flanks but I can't read them. Until today when I suddenly make out the word: growth.