In a finite environment, any system that depends upon continuous growth in order to retain steady state is pathological.
We used to have the concept of the terrestrial frontier, which allowed us to make a sort of open ended set of assumptions about space and resources. In our current situation, however, we know that we have a finite amount of both.
We must become wiser, and move away from growth-dependent models of operation.
Why do so many of our institutions rely upon growth for stability? On a human level, it is largely due to population fluctuation and its attendant changes in our demand for resources. From a more finance and economics perspective, a lot of our banking and business organizations rely upon debt systems, and on earning a percentage off of the multiplication and float factors inherent in those systems. This leads to a tendency (or a need, if left unchecked) to require ever greater gains to sustain outstanding financial mechanisms.
How can we refactor these pieces of our world? What other pieces might have great influence?