As we witness the declining health of the planet and worsening social inequality, there is considerable skepticism that economic growth in high-income countries will continue to transform lives for the better or deliver modest social gains like a reduction in poverty. Meanwhile, the singular pursuit of economic growth continues to exacerbate threats to human life, including climate disruption, mass extinction, and other symptoms of decline in the planet’s carrying capacity. We are facing a choice: reduce the scale of economic activity or risk irreversible ecological damage and unimaginable future costs. How can societies organize their economic affairs with the goal of improving well-being and restoring the health of the planet?
The two sides of the growth debate