Environmental catastrophe looms large over politics: from the young person’s climate march to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, increasing amounts of political space are devoted to the issue. Central to this debate is the question of whether economic growth inevitably leads to environmental issues such as depleted finite resources and increased waste, disruption of natural cycles and ecosystems, and of course climate change. Growth is the focal point of the de-growth and zero-growth movements who charge that despite efficiency gains, increased GDP always results in increased use of energy and emissions. On the other side of the debate, advocates of continued growth (largely mainstream economists) believe that technological progress and policies can ‘decouple’ growth from emissions.
How countries achieve long-term GDP growth is up there with the most important topics in economics. As Nobel Laureate Robert Lucas put it “the consequences for human welfare involved in questions like these are simply staggering: once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else.” Ricardo Hausmann et al take a refreshing approach to this question in their Atlas of Economic Complexity. They argue a country’s growth depends on the complexity of its economy: it must have a diverse economy which produces a wide variety of products, including ones that cannot be produced much elsewhere. The Atlas goes into detail on exactly what complexity means, how it fits the data, and what this implies for development. Below I will offer a summary of their arguments, including some cool data visualisations.
Dependency in Central and Eastern Europe - Self-reliance and the need to move beyond economic growth
In this essay, the author takes a critical perspective on the pursuit of growth as the solution for providing for environmental sustainability and economic stability in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Drawing from the framework of dependency theory and presenting brief insights into European core-periphery relations the author then argues for the implementation of an alternative strategy to development that is built around the concept of self-reliance.
This lecture briefly discusses historic understandings of the limits to infinite economic growth on a finite planet (from John Stuart Mill to Marx). Taking a ecological economics perspective it discusses the metabolism of the economy, the economy as a subsystem of the environment, biophysical limits to growth, and sustainable economic scales.
In this essay, the principle of capital accumulation, as well as the idea of homo economicus as the basis of the growth model, are located and analyzed from a feminist perspective. The sufficiency approach is presented as an alternative to these two economic logics.
Beyond Growth is a collection of educational materials offering a reflection on growth. It was created as a joint project of the associations Fairbindung e. V. and Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie, both based in Germany. The page provides learning materials and methods to stimulate thinking about the conditions of our current economy as well as possible alternatives.
In this essay the authors take a look at how welfare could be provided in a degrowth society.
This film looks at the role economic growth has had in bringing about this crisis, and explores alternatives to it, offering a vision of hope for the future and a better life for all within planetary boundaries.
Many economists refer to economic growth as a cake that is supposed to grow for the benefit of all.
Exploring Economics, an open-access e-learning platform, giving you the opportunity to discover & study a variety of economic theories, topics, and methods.
Decoupling debunked: Evidence and arguments against green growth as a sole strategy for sustainability
From the theoretical literature, the authors provide seven reasons to be sceptical about the occurrence of sufficient decoupling in the future. In addition to the extensive summary of the recent literature, 'decoupling debunked' provides a great introduction into the decoupling hypothesis.
Innovation Resilience and Social Responsibility The Italian Cooperative Sector is amongst the largest in the world comprising over 60 000 cooperatives from all sectors of the economy directly employing 1 3 million people Cooperatives created close to 30 percent of new jobs in Italy between 2001 and 2011 demonstrating that …
This article demonstrates Schumpeter s propagated approach to monetary analysis in macroeconomics so as to provide for a better understanding of the relation between finance and growth Peter Bofinger Lisa Geißendörfer Thomas Haas Fabian Mayer voxEU
In this article, the Harvard Business Review recognizes the arguments of the Degrowth vision and gives examples of businesses that have thrived following its precepts. The authors suggest three strategies that firms should put into action to be at the forefront of this movement. The article also gives a brief overview of what the degrowth is about and its main criticisms.
In this essay, Professor Robert Pollin explores the short falls of the degrowth perspective in handling the impending environmental collapse as well as elaborates on the efficacies of a green new deal.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching implications across the African continent. This discussion brings to light the role of African think tanks, such as the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) in rethinking the continent’s development models, especially, in light of the unprecedented crisis.
Since the 1980s, the financial sector and its role have increased significantly. This development is often referred to as financialization. Authors working in the heterodox tradition have raised the question whether the changing role of finance manifests a new era in the history of capitalism. The present article first provides some general discussion on the term financialization and presents some stylized facts which highlight the rise of finance. Then, it proceeds by briefly reviewing the main arguments in the Marxian framework that proposedly lead to crisis. Next, two schools of thought in the Marxian tradition are reviewed which consider financialization as the latest stage of capitalism. They highlight the contradictions imposed by financialization that disrupt the growth process and also stress the fragilities imposed by the new growth regime. The two approaches introduced here are the Social Structure of Accumulation Theory and Monthly Review School. The subsequent part proceeds with the Post-Keynesian theory, first introducing potential destabilizing factors before discussing financialization and the finance-led growth regime. The last section provides a comparative summary. While the basic narrative in all approaches considered here is quite similar, major differences stem from the relationship between neoliberalism and financialization and, moreover, from the question of whether financialization can be considered cause or effect.
Although sometimes used as synonyms, economic growth and economic development refer to different processes. While economic growth refers to an increase in real national income and output (i.e., GDP growth rate), economic development refers to an improvement in the quality of life and living standards (i.e., life expectancy).
Based on a paper by Jason Hickel and Giorgos Kallis Decoupling refers to the separation of economic value creation material extraction and pollution. Ecological limits pose a challenge to growth-led development and the low historical and predicted rate of decoupling suggests that long-term sustainable growth-led development is impossible.
Why current definitions of family income are misleading, and why this matters for measures of inequality
What is “equitable growth” and how do we measure it? A better understanding of equitable growth—and how to measure it—can improve our understanding, inform decisions and lead to better outcomes for all.
How should we discuss welfare when understanding the role of growth and the viability of Growth-led development? One option is to look at subjective happiness. This provides an anti-materialistic view which may superficially appear more compatible with significant reductions in consumption in order to remain within safe ecological limits.
Özlem Onaran analyses the current problems of secular stagnation from a global perspective. At the core of global economic problems is insufficient demand caused by falling wage shares, because most individual countries, and the world as a whole are “wage-led”. Hence a strategy for global growth is to aim at increasing wages and thus the wage share, and the abandonment of policies focusing purely on national competitiveness. Financialization has broken the link between corporate profitability and investment. Reregulation of finance and higher public investment is required in order to crowd in private investment, in this way, reversing the declining trend of potential output growth.
How did economic growth become paramount as the public policy objective? Peter Victor discusses the role of growth within institutions, asks if it is possible to imagine a degrowth economy and discusses the role of grass-root movements.
The notion that the demand and supply side are independent is a key feature of textbook undergraduate economics and of modern macroeconomic models. Economic output is thought to be constrained by the productive capabilities of the economy - the ‘supply-side' - through technology, demographics and capital investment. In the short run a boost in demand may increase GDP and employment due to frictions such as sticky wages, but over the long-term successive rises in demand without corresponding improvements on the supply side can only create inflation as the economy reaches capacity. In this post I will explore the alternative idea of demand-led growth, where an increase in demand can translate into long-run supply side gains. This theory is most commonly associated with post-Keynesian economics, though it has been increasingly recognised in the mainstream literature.
This course is an introduction to Development Economics and is concerned with how economists have sought to explain how the process of economic growth occurs, and how – or whether – that delivers improved well-being of people.
The goal of the class is to acquire familiarity with recently-published research in alternative macroeconomics with a focus on the distribution of income and wealth, cyclical growth models, and technical change.
The objective of the course is to explore the main strengths and weaknesses of orthodox and heterodox paradigms within development economics.
In China's Gilded Age, Yuen Yuen Ang maintains that all corruption is harmful, but not all types of corruption hurt growth. Ang unbundles corruption into four varieties: petty theft, grand theft, speed money, and access money.
What influence do changes in tax policy or state decisions on expenditure have on economic growth? For decades, this question has been controversially debated.
A central question in development economics literature is, “Why do countries stay poor?” The key disagreements are whether the lack of economic growth stems from institutions or from geography (Nunn 2009). From an institutional perspective, hostile tariff regimes and commodity price dependencies form a barrier to a sectoral shift that would otherwise lead to economic development in developing countries (Blink and Dorton 2011) (Stiglitz 2006).[i]
The premise of this workshop is that we, as knowledge producers - especially within westernized universities (Grosfoguel, 2013), are significantly implicated in neoliberal imaginaries that are often in service of hierarchical, binary, competitive and linear narratives of growth as civilizational progress.