Core questions of sustainable civilisation are surely not whether or not growth should occur, but rather – what form or shape that growth should take. Growth characterised purely as material multiplicity and external, organisational or (associated) thermal or energy burden (also) entirely misses the mark of understanding and harnessing the logically self-inflected nature of innovation and information entropy.
Running orthogonal to multiplicity and aggregate growth is the logical self-inflection of sociotechnical metamorphosis via compression and acceleration. What is on one hand the addition of new ideas, components, configurations, strategies and organisational patterns is simultaneously the (inverse) introduction of algorithmic concision and reductive, streamlined optimisation of system(s) description, function and operation.
Where we have inhabited socioeconomic systems that functioned primarily by an acquisition (and normative expectation) of multiplicity, material growth and additive self-replication – we have simultaneously inhabited an evolving sociotechnical system of accelerating logical abstraction. Balancing the books here is a matter of recognising in what material ways growth is additive, and in what (logical, abstract) ways growth is also subtractive.
Context: (Still) Against Degrowth