Continuous economic growth is the benchmark of success for modern nations across the world.
However, as the global financial crisis rolls on and the true costs of environmental degradation become increasingly evident, a counter-movement is gaining traction based on the belief that it is time to consider some alternative economic models.
In this special edition of earthrise, Russell Beard meets some of the people who are re-thinking the relationship between economics and the environment.
Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation argues that if we are to avoid catastrophic environmental damage, growth will inevitably have to reduce. He believes that in a no-growth economy, success would be defined in ways other than just profit. He cites a comment made by Robert Kennedy, at the time when he ran for US president, that GDP “…measures everything … except that which makes life worthwhile”.
Carlota Perez, an academic and author, is a passionate advocate of green growth; in fact, she regards development of the green technology sector as the only route out of the current economic crisis. Using government policy to encourage innovation and making a green lifestyle truly aspirational, she argues, are key to sustaining growth whilst protecting the environment.
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