The financial crisis and the Great Recession have put economic growth back at the top of the political agenda in most countries. That is not surprising. The surprise is that there has also been a backlash against economic growth, from three completely different camps.
First, those whom we call ’inevitable no-growthers‘, such as US economist Robert Gordon, who argue that low or zero growth in developed economies may be inevitable. Second, ’environmental no-growthers‘, such as Prosperity without Growth author Tim Jackson, who argue that the planet cannot sustain continued increases in economic activity. Third, ’lifestyle no-growthers‘, such as Lord Robert and Edward Skidelsky, authors of How Much is Enough, who conclude that we would be better off without growth, because we should all stop working so hard, slow down and enjoy life a little more.
The delusions of ‘business as usual’ growth
There is something plausible in each of these arguments, and indeed some of these ideas are at least partially right. Certainly, they do not suffer from the delusions of those who would argue for return to ‘business-as-usual’ growth at all costs. Read more