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Gordon Brown calls for global growth pact

December 6, 2010

Gordon Brown disappeared from public life after the election, concentrating on being a good backbench MP, and on writing a book on the financial crisis. Beyond the Crash is now being trailed, and there’s an excerpt in the papers today.

In it, he calls for a global growth pact to secure recovery and ensure ongoing economic growth.

Stronger, more sustainable growth will not happen just by hoping for Asian consumer spending to rise. Nor from simply hoping for private investment to recover swiftly and strongly. It will require an agreement among the economic powers of the world, bigger, more imaginative, and more lasting than even the Marshall Plan for Europe: a constantly updated plan for economic growth.

He also calls for “a new academic discipline of global growth economics”. I’m calling for that too, but I don’t think we mean the same thing.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Zoky permalink
    December 6, 2010 5:23 pm

    I suspect not!

  2. December 7, 2010 8:34 am

    In the wake of the recent “German Sustainability Day” and Gala (for which I had to purchase an expensive Pierre Cardin Suit – I normally do not mingle with Billionaires) I purchased Prof. Angelika Zahrnt’s (she is honorary President of Germany’s largest env. NGO BUND) latest book, which is titled “Postwachstumsgesellschaft” (Post Growth Society), published this past summer. What really let me gasp for air about the book was that the introduction was written by the former Director of the World Monetary Fund and retired German Federal President Horst Köhler, who had suddenly and unexpectedly resigned under mysterious circumstances earlier in 2010. Now while the German neo-liberal government of our days celebrates the alleged successes of the so called “Growth Acceleration Law”, the distinguished economist and elderly statesman Prof. Dr. Köhler begins his introduction to the book by quoting another distinguished economist – Kenneth Boulding:

    “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”

    By using this quote and in the following text a leading former senior world politician and decision maker with his vast background in finance and economics identifies the main culprit of global problems: ECONOMIC GROWTH. While it surely was brave that Prof. Köhler stated it, the insight itself is neither new nor original, but such simple facts usually are revealed from a different direction. I shall conclude my musings with two more typical quotes from a more typical corner of intellectual inquiry:

    “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”
    (Albert A. Bartlett, physicist)

    And one of the greatest minds that every walked the Earth spoke:

    “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
    (Max Planck, father of Quantum Physics)

    Amen.

  3. December 7, 2010 11:44 am

    Wow, that’s quite an endorsement. Glad to hear the post-growth debate is moving forward in Germany.

    • December 7, 2010 1:28 pm

      Yes. I was surprised, too. But it goes beyond that: we now (since Dec. 1) have a “Federal Study Commission on Growth and Livelihood” (or growth and prosperity, depending on the translation), and questions will be asked. It reminds me of the early days of the Study Commission on Climate Change in the late 80s, early 90s, which was one of the stepping stones towards the IPCC. It might take a few years, but these commissions generally are wildly independent and staffed with a mix of first rate experts, so I expect some outcome that does not fly in the face of logics.

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