chapter  5
20 Pages

Arguments for and against economic growth

WithJin Xue

This chapter scrutinizes arguments for and against economic growth as a strategy to deal with the multiple crises. Economic growth is often argued to be the best solution to eliminate poverty. The period of classical political economy from the mid eighteenth century to the late nineteenth century coincided with the dawn of the industrial revolution, where wealth was created on a larger scale than ever before. Karl Marx used the simple formula M-C-M to illustrate how the capitalist economy tends to entail limitless accumulation. The most disquieting argument against continuous economic growth rests in the emphasis on external limits. The financial system will risk collapse if growth in the real economy fails. Fierce competition in the market economy sets the 'growth or die' dynamic in motion and forms the profit-driven economy. As Bonaiuti points out, the spread of the capitalist market economy leads to the spread of individualistic behaviors and positional competition.