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Q: What about developing countries, surely they need to grow?
A: Sure, there are plenty of countries that need to grow, and people who should be allowed to consume considerably more. It’s the wealthy countries of the world that need to look long and hard about whether they need growth. The biggest problem is that since we’ve already overshot the earth’s biocapacity, there’s actually no room for the poorer countries to grow. Developed nations need to reduce their consumption to make space for poorer countries to catch up. (This is the premise behind The Earthbound Report blog.)

Q: Surely all this is socialism in disguise?
A: I’m not a socialist and there is no conspiracy here. Capitalism is the only system we have, so we’re going to have to work within it, using market mechanisms to change the way we consume. I’m not arguing for the end of capitalism, but a radical re-invention of it.

Q: Can capitalism work without growth?
A: It has to, if it is to survive, but if there’s one thing a capitalist system is good at, it is innovation and adaptation… (that’s two things, sorry)

Q: What are your questions about growth?
A: Add them in the comments below, and let’s expand this Frequently Asked Questions around yours rather than mine…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2011 11:19 am

    Can capitalism continue to grow by trading with the developing countries?

    Yes it can, but only if the developing countries have commodities to trade.

    This growth will consume more of the Earth’s resources, which we are aiming to reduce.

    What a dilemma.

    Is there a solution?

    • December 17, 2013 9:36 pm

      I think the premise of a post-growth or steady state economy is that it does NOT grow? Trade could still go on, but I suppose food items and other things that can easily be produced locally would not be traded as much.

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