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The growth report 1

December 5, 2009

Inspired by the Queen’s sad statement that the government’s “overriding priority is to ensure sustained growth“, I’m keeping an closer eye out for growth economics. Nothing can grow forever in a finite space, so unlimited economic growth is a lie. Base your entire society on a lie, and it will destroy you. So who dares to call the lie for what it is? Where are the politicians talking sense?

I’m planning to track this conversation over time. I’ve got a few more ideas up my sleeve as well, but for now, here’s this week’s growth report:

Conservative MP David Davis argues for a lowering of ambitions on climate change, since environmental measures will harm economic growth: “We often worry, properly, about the potential effects of global warming on the poorer parts of the world. We should also worry that cutting the world’s growth will condemn millions of people to continuing poverty in the decades to come.”

Meanwhile, Lord Stern insists that not only can we continue to grow, but climate change may usher in a new golden age: “the transition to the low-carbon economy can be the most dynamic period of growth in economic history” he writes in the Guardian. If countries secure the right deal in Copenhagen, it could “allow us to avoid the biggest risks of climate change, to overcome poverty worldwide and to usher in an exciting new era of prosperity based on a much more attractive and stronger form of economic growth – sustainable low-carbon growth.”

On the other hand, Herman Daly writes the foreword to Other Worlds are Possible, a new paper from the new economics foundation: “Climate change, important as it is, is nevertheless a symptom of a deeper malady, namely our fixation on unlimited growth of the economy as the solution to nearly all problems.”

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