Dick Smith challenges ‘faith’ in benefits of population and economic growth
Dick Smith has warned against unchecked population growth but says Australia’s politicians are not “game” enough to talk about the issue.
In an address to the National Press Club on Wednesday, the businessman said endless population and economic growth was like a “religious faith” for graduates of university degrees in economics and questioning whether these two things were beneficial for Australians was something of a taboo in public discussion.
Mr Smith singled out politicians, economists and journalists for restricting debate about the costs of “endless compound growth in population” and said a Senate inquiry might be needed to break open a conversation.
“It’s almost like a religious faith that growth, don’t even discuss it, it will just go on forever when it obviously can’t and I’m absolutely surprised at that,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith said, left unchecked, Australia’s population would hit “80 to 100 million by the end of the century if we keep growing”.
He said that kind of perpetual growth would only serve wealthy Australians, while the majority of the population would suffer a decline in living conditions and be worse off.
“The cake is a certain size, mainly coming from our mineral reserves and our primary production from farming, and double the population, I believe everyone’s worth half as much,” he said.
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