Plenty of economic commentators are far from convinced that there are rosy prospects for further growth in the EU and North America.
In fact, it would be a major feat for those regions simply to stand still for the next 30 years.
A lot of people get very moralistic about debt. Nowadays, they say that a person who doesn't pay the pricipal and the interest on his debts is a morally inferior person. Now, I simply don't feel that way. I have no debts, and neither do I feel a strong anger towards a person who has defaulted on his debts, provided he didn't knowingly deceive his creditor when he took on the debt. If he took on the debt while actively intending to rip off his creditor, then of course I think that's immoral.
So let's propose a thought experiment.
Let's imagine that the current slump in the western world remains in place for the next 20 years. On average, taking into account recessions and periods of low growth, cumulative growth will be less than 0.25% a year.
Let's imagine that we somehow know that this will be the case.
In that situation, what is the proper moral status of the debts people have?
a) pay them in full somehow
b) pay as much of them as circumstances permit, while continuing to feed and clothe their kids, and maintain shelter
c) write them off altogether.
Bear in mind that any money paid towards a debt is NOT being spent in the consumer economy, and growth is not a factor in this thought experiment so it's a zero sum situation. So options a) and b) both entail increasing unemployment, so it begs the question of how we feed and shelter the newly-unemployed people.