The justification is always “growth”. However, no short-term economic policy can trump the long-term economic policy of protecting the ecological foundations of all economy. Everywhere in the world, especially in Bhutan, the scam of “growth” is being recognised. All it measures is commercialisation and commodification of resources, and hence is actually the rate of extraction of resources from local ecosystems and local communities. It should, therefore, be interpreted as measuring ecological destruction and the creation of poverty, not as measuring wealth.
The real meaning of “wealth” is well being. A process that destroys nature and dispossesses local communities and hence destroys well being cannot be justified as wealth-creating. What it does lead to as a result of ecological and social exploitation and the conversion of nature’s resources into cash is the concentration of cash in the hands of a few.
And this cash can then be used for kickbacks and buying political influence, to further erode nature, people’s rights and democracy.
This is the vicious cycle we have got trapped in. And only people’s movements in the defence of nature and their rights can break it.