Friday, 26 August 2011

Growth cannot solve all Economic Problems

Reading Roubini's view that Karl Marx may have made a valid point about Capitalism chimes with a neglected aspect of economic discourse (especially as practiced by commentators employed by financial service firms). Quite apart from the fact that from an environmental perspective growth - in the number of humans as well as in economic activity - has to end at some stage, even if not in the immediate future, the desperate clamor for growth at any cost is distracting from the fact that maybe the distribution of income and wealth may have a larger role to play in healing society's problems. What would a world of zero growth (at least in the industrial countries) look like? We would still generate a large amount of wealth year in year out. But maybe a shift in the relative pieces that different individuals take out of the given cake would make a more substantial contribution to increase the sum-total of human happiness than squeezing out an extra decimal point in GDP growth.