The leaders of the former Soviet Union placed great store on Five-Year Plans, supported by extraordinarily detailed statistical information on the country’s economic outputs. The only problem was that they bore no resemblance to reality. While the fake economy soared to ever higher levels of productivity, the country faced perennial shortages of basic foodstuffs and consumer goods. A similar role is being played today by the regeneration industry. The main difference is that, while the Soviet Union figures were generally discredited and dismissed, the regeneration industry still seems to believe its own propaganda. Sustainable growth, that most cynical of oxymorons, remains the holy grail. But since the ‘golden age’ of high growth and full employment during the 1960s, there have been a series of booms and busts that provide a clear pattern. Every recovery takes longer to achieve and the growth rates are lower than anticipated. The recession of 2008/09 … (To read the full article, subscribe below)

Steve Schofield is research worker at LessNet, the economic sufficiency and security network