Economic growth is not fundamentally important. For example, perfect egalitarian societies like many hunter-gatherer clans or the Hakka societies occupying the Fujian Tulou could experience zero economic growth and still be absolutely fine as long as they maintain the same standard of living from year to year.
Economic growth becomes far more important for backward societies that function off of hypocritical elitism, oppression, enforced poverty, and some form of forced labour. These are the qualities of inverse civilization which includes all slave-making civilizations.
Within slave-making societies, the easiest and most convenient position is to be a slave-maker. As long as you force others to work and constantly keep others busy and oppressed, you get to climb to elite ranks, don’t have to do much work yourself and can get away with it because everybody else is so tired and desperate for any crumb you throw at them that they can’t rebel against you.
Inverse civilization is as old as civilization itself. The characteristic traits of inverse civilization are detailed in The Epic of Gilgamesh:
“Gilgamesh, two-thirds god and one-third man, is oppressing his people, who cry out to the gods for help. For the young women of Uruk this oppression takes the form of a droit du seigneur — or “lord’s right” to sleep with brides on their wedding night. For the young men (the tablet is damaged at this point) it is conjectured that Gilgamesh exhausts them through games, tests of strength, or perhaps forced labour on building projects.”
There are countless examples of inverse civilization. Pol Pot’s Cambodia is just one example. Pol Pot’s regime enforced extreme inequality, poverty, oppression, and labour. For slave-makers, it doesn’t matter how many people are forced to die or starve to death—as long as one continues to maintain backward conditions, slave-makers will rise at the expense of the general public.
Western civilization was founded on inverse civilization and has never deviated from that course. Inverse civilization is inherently unstable. It eventually destroys itself. As more regular humans die and as more slave-makers are born, there become too many slave-makers and not enough slaves. The only way to keep the system going is to expand. Slave-makers must find more slaves.
Now that formal slavery has been abolished, wage-slavery and Athenian-style slave-making are the predominant way in which oppressors keep people controlled.
The income distribution curve of any inverse-civilization will always be very similar. The poor and middle class are kept minimally wealthy while the portion of the graph representing the rich minority shoots up exponentially.
(Image via https://youtu.be/QPKKQnijnsM)
The above image represents income distribution in the US, but all inverse-civilized societies from North Korea to the USSR have distribution curves similar to the one above.
Inverse-civilized economic development can create the illusion of genuine human advancement while still maintaining the basic qualities of inverse-civilization where the slave-makers are in complete control. (Capitalism with enforced baseline poverty is a form of inverse-civilized economic development. The USSR’s centralized method of industrialization which should be properly termed inverse-socialism is also considered inverse-civilized economic development.)
When a country like South Korea goes from being extremely poor to becoming considered a first world country with an income distribution curve similar to that of other inverse-civilized first-world societies, it creates the illusion that Western forms of inverse-civilized economic development are inherently good.
Furthermore, when there is population growth, inverse-civilized economic growth allows more people to become part of the inverse-civilized income distribution curve.
Advances in all sectors of society such as science, technology, and human rights occur at the same time.
All of this creates the illusion that things are moving in the right direction, but actually hides the fundamental evil that inverse-civilization is founded upon.
Eventually people begin to notice that the poor and middle class are kept at the same level and only the rich get richer. Eventually only the very tip of the income distribution curve increases—nothing else. Thus, for a country that is already a first-world country where the population is relatively stagnant, all new economic growth solely revolves around the tip of the income distribution curve—representing the income of the super-wealthy—shooting up.
(Image via https://youtu.be/QPKKQnijnsM)
This is because the point of inverse-civilized economic development was never to help people—it was always to distract people from the reality of their oppression by pathological slave-makers. (Nazi Germany and the Soviet élite dazzled their citizenry with the industrialization, economic growth, and advances in science and technology they achieved under their particular brand of inverse-civilized development.)
However, if economic growth ever stagnated under conditions of inverse-civilization, many people would lose their jobs. Since there is no guarantee against poverty in inverse-civilized societies, average people are desperate for inverse-civilized economic growth just to survive. It’s very hard to overthrow such a system because people who help enforce such a system will advance while people who oppose the system could be left homeless.
I have no problem with human development or economic growth as long as it is in line with conditions of real civilization where oppressors and slave-makers are not in control, where there is no poverty, and where advances help everyone in a genuine rather than in a illusory fashion.
Forms of inverse-civilization:
Spartan-style slave-making: Fascist societies (Nazi Germany, ancient Sparta, etc.)
Athenian-style slave-making: Ancient Athens, most of the Westernized world (countries such as US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, etc. that utilize capitalism with enforced poverty and representative democracy.)
Inverse-socialism: USSR, “Communist” China, “Democratic” Kampuchea, North Korea, etc.
The Indus Valley Civilization qualified as true civilization because people were actually civilized, peaceful and egalitarian.
Sumeria arguably had periods of real as well as inverse civilization.
(The Epic of Gilgamesh reveals a period of inverse civilization while the following source reveals a period of real civilization where conditions for citizens were comparable to those of the Indus Valley Civilization:
“The social conditions of the citizens were comparable to those in Sumeria and superior to the contemporary Babylonians and Egyptians.”