The idea that the economic “pie” can grow indefinitely is alluring. It means everybody can have a share without limiting anybody’s greed. Rampant inequality thus becomes socially acceptable because we hope the growth of the economy will eventually make everybody better off.
In my new book “Wellbeing Economy: Success in a World Without Growth” I point out that the “growth first” rule has dominated the world since the early 20th century. No other ideology has ever been so powerful: the obsession with growth even cut through both capitalist and socialist societies.
But what exactly is growth? Strangely enough, the notion has never been reasonably developed.
For common sense people, there is growth when – all things being equal – our overall wealth increases. Growth happens when we generate value that wasn’t there before: for instance, through the education of children, the improvement of our health or the preparation of food. A more educated, healthy and well-nourished person is certainly an example of growth.
If any of these activities generate some costs, either for us individually or for society, we should deduct them from the value we have created. In this logical approach, growth equals all gains minus all costs.
Paradoxically, our model of economic growth does exactly the opposite of what common sense suggests.
Read the full article in The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/growth-is-dying-as-the-silver-bullet-for-success-why-this-may-be-good-thing-78427