From Westminster to Beijing, politicians and economists believe growth is the path to progress and prosperity. But are they blindly leading us towards catastrophe?
The pursuit of economic growth has raised millions out of poverty and raised living standards to heights that were simply unimaginable to previous generations. When the economy grows, everyone benefits – whether through a higher tax base to spend on public services, or more money in your pocket. For Liz Truss’s many supporters, the former prime minister’s mistake was not attempting to unleash growth, only moving too quickly. The reason capitalism flourishes across the globe is, quite simply, that it works.
Yes, say the so-called Anti-Growth Coalition: industrial capitalism has given us indoor toilets, sports cars, and the iPhone, but it has also brought us to the brink of an ecological catastrophe that will scar the planet for centuries to come. If we hope to save ourselves, we need to recognise that human flourishing depends on more than wealth generation – and start listening to the economists and environmentalists who have warned us for decades that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible. It’s time to forget the myth of the trickle-down effect, and put both sustainability and the public good ahead of profit, even if that means endorsing a principle that once seemed unthinkable: shrinking the global economy.
Join us as we debate one of the most important ideas in the history of the modern world – one that a growing number of advocates believe is no longer fit for purpose.
Final Line Up To Be Announced. Moderated by Hannah MacInnes.
Proposing the Motion: Ida Kubiszewski, Associate Professor at the Institute for Global Prosperity at UCL; and Danny Dorling, Professor in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford.
Opposing the Motion: Robert Colvile, Sunday Times columnist and Director of the Centre for Policy Studies; and Sam Alvis, head of Economy, Green Alliance.