Economic Growth: Our modern day religion?

For around half a century ecological economists such as Herman Daly have been seeking to win over the economics profession to the recognition that the economy is a subsystem of the environment – and thus that economic growth is subject to inescapable limits. But despite both increasingly alarming environmental signals and increasing signs of secular stagnation in advanced economies, the goal of ongoing growth remains a fixture of our politics.

In this talk Richard Douglas drew on his research at the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity to suggest that one reason for our social attachment to growth is the way it functions as a modern form of theodicy. He argued that the prospects for steady state or degrowth economics hang on the development of a replacement for growth as a religiously fulfilling view of our collective future.

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