Varok's Steady State
Varok has maintained a no-growth economy, a steady state, in dynamic equilibrium over the ages since the Mutilation by following four basic rules:
- Give top priority to keeping the planet's ecology healthy,
- Use all renewable resources at or below the rate at which they can regenerate,
- Use all non-renewable resources, like precious metals, at a rate equal to their recovery rate or replacement by renewable resources, and
- In all eco-regions, create wastes at a rate no greater than the rate of their natural assimilation.
Varok defines the steady-state as that level of population and resource stocks that provide a good life and an equitable, sustainable standard of living over a long period of time. Throughput of matter and energy is maintained at the lowest possible rate to allow future generations the same quality of life enjoyed by the present generation. Birth and death rates are equalized and kept at the lowest possible levels, but those rates, as well as depletion rates of any resource, are subject to revision by popular vote.
A higher material standard of living can always be voted in. If the limits are increased, assurances are made to be sure the quality of life does not deteriorate over the long-term. The steady-state is an ethically-based system, not a system of politics. The moral impetus behind the steady-state also protects future generations, limitations of inequities in wealth distribution, and the safety of all non-virulent life forms.
Business-as-usual to stimulate growth in the economies of Earth, be they Marxist, Socialist, or Capitalist, are called treason on Varok, for the end-product of Varokian society is minimal throughput, not consumption. Economic growth is viewed as a cancer, an eroding force dangerously unpredictable, being a complex system of complex systems. Treason is defined as disregard for the future of the planet.
—Conn, in a letter to Bob Carliano on Earth