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Adam Smith Institute on the impossibility of growth

February 10, 2010

The Adam Smith Institute responds to nef’s Growth Isn’t Possible report, in typically dogmatic fashion:

The nef’s latest report exhibits a complete lack of understanding of economics and, indeed, human development. To compare to the growth of an economy to the growth of a hamster, as the report’s authors do, is juvenile and misleading. Growth is emphatically not a zero-sum game. Trade brings mutual gains, and drives a process of innovation and technological advance that no-one can predict in advance.

It is because of this endless human ingenuity that we can and will continue to create wealth and raise living standards, so long as we are not prevented from doing so by foolish government policies. And it is precisely this economic growth which will lift the poor out of poverty and improve the environmental standards that really matter to people – like clean air and water – in the process, as it has done throughout human history.

There’s only one good thing I can say for the nef’s report, and that’s that it is honest. Its authors admit that they want us to be poorer and to lead more restricted lives for the sake of their faddish beliefs. I suppose they deserve some credit for making that admission.

Interestingly, even Adam Smith himself could envisage a country “which had acquired its full complement of riches.”

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