for some time at least. From what I understand, classic capitalist economies must grow or die because the peculiar process of the wealth generation involved. In two words, a capitalist (it could be some kind of formless entity) get a credit from the financial sharks, which he must to repay with interest > than inflation rate (usually). Thus, thinking globally, capitalists must create value greater than the value of the loans they get. This necessiates growth in the consumption of goods and services. No growth = no money to repay loan = bancruptcies etc. However, this is true only for classic, I would call it productive, capitalism. Most Westerners live uder another system, which I would call speculative capitalism. This kind of the system is much more flexible, it can produce additional value (meaning cash) for big guys to keep their all increasing scores with little or no growth in the consumption of tangible goods and services among the mere mortals. I'm not a financial guru, but I'm guessing, under current system, there are quite a few ways to bypass pesky "money-goods-money" sequence. I'm so ignorant of the financial matters, I'm not going even speculate about those ways. One thing which come to my mind, could it be that "rich get richer, poor get poorer" scheme is a necessity for the financial capitalism to exist under conditions of the modest to nonexistent growth of the "real" economy? After all, if a capitalist isn't able to extract more value by expanding his output, he may extract more value by squeezing his underlings more, invest fraction of the extracted value into media, prepaid think tanks, etc. to create an illusion of the all encompassing growth, so those who are not squeezed yet kept their consumption patterns unchanged (at least). Obviously, "squeeze" will gradualy get in touch with greater and greate number of peoples until some tipping point. Then, something big is going to happen.