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Moving Away From the Pro-Growth Economy

Erika Gavenus

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Introduction: The current economic system being utilized and internalized relies on perpetual growth. It has long operated counter to the reality that we are confined to a finite planet with finite resources. Yet, this system continues to be practiced and promoted globally. As the environmental and social repercussions of disbelief in limits become increasingly clear, so does our need for a new economic system —one that is not wedded to growth. Neither growth in the number of consumers nor growth in the amount consumed.

But what would an alternative to the pro-growth economy look like? There are multiple thinkers and organizations taking on exactly this question. However, these efforts can be disparate and focused on their differences rather than their common agreement that an alternative to pro-growth economics is not only possible but required.

With support and guidance from multiple experts, the MAHB has compiled a list of resources and organizations relevant to the discussions of why a new economic system is needed, what might the system look like, and how do we make the necessary transition. The MAHB was particularly interested in how, or if, these resources incorporated human population numbers and growth into their assessments of the economy. The resources identified so far explore how human population growth factors into economic growth, the limits to growth, the disconnect between economic growth and improved human wellbeing, theories in response to the limits, and proposed policies and practices for moving away from our “obsession” with growth.

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