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In this lecture, Laura Porak, a scientific officer at Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy (ICAE), presents the Social Limits to Growth. As some of you know, many economists refer to economic growth as a cake that is supposed to grow for the benefit of all. (Almost) everyone likes cake, and "the more the better" is the rule at many birthday parties. But what are actually the real benefits and downsides of economic growth? And how to measure it?
Does growth equate to progress, welfare and wellbeing? If economic growth is simply the value of production, and progress is not neutral, what enhances whose welfare and wellbeing? The presentation explores what indicates growth and enhancement of one's position. If possession of certain scarce goods indicates attainment of a certain position, positional goods as they are called, the regeneration of other positional goods to indicate yet another higher position dispels the newly attained position. Growth then is a failed success. It is antithetical.
It is impertinent to ask what the social and environmental costs of pursuing such growth are. The video presentation explores the relationship between economic growth and globalisation and the embeddedness of inequality and global injustice both spatially and temporally. Sharing a brief history of public attention on growth, measured in GDP, over the decades, Laura Porak challenges the existing growth paradigm like green growth and vouches for alternative policies and forms of measuring growth that captures environmental sustainability, material wellbeing and social participation.