When is a “developed” country “developed” enough? At what point do we say, I think we’ve reached the limit? When do we stop? When is enough finally enough?
When does one stop development? The customary answer to this question is: You
can’t refuse Southern countries the possibility of escaping from poverty and,
in one way or another, of catching up to the level of comfort enjoyed in Northern
countries. Certainly. So, let the countries of the South develop.
But when must the countries of the North, for their part, stop developing?
This question poses itself very concretely when projects for highways, industrial
regions, superstores, housing estates, parking lots, etc. arise. Rationality
should, in virtually all cases, lead us to reject their implementation. The
logic of economic interests – which camouflages the appetite for lucre underneath
promises of job creation – most often imposes the pouring of concrete. The result
of this rationale is the constant aggravation of the ecological crisis in which
we are involved. [...]
Let’s restore the problem to its most crudely simple terms: If it’s true that
climate change, the erosion of biodiversity and chemical pollution are major
problems, the North must not be developed. Does Québec need that development?
According to the Statistical Institute for that province, disposable income
per inhabitant is roughly equal to that of France or Japan. One may consider
that that’s enough and that there is no necessity for enrichment. It’s up to
Québec’s society to decide whether, by occupying it, it wishes to lose
the North. But the situation suggests an obvious fact that holds true for all
rich countries: Developed countries no longer need to grow.
Translation: Truthout French language editor