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Endless growth on a finite planet? Demand economic alternatives!

Endless growth on a finite planet? Demand economic alternatives!


Why this is important

Endless economic growth is not sustainable on a finite planet. This is not just a common sense argument anymore, but a statement strongly supported by fresh scientific evidence (for a summary, watch this TEDx talk: Major environmental problems that undermine human well-being – such as climate change, various types of pollution and the destruction of ecosystems – are largely driven by rising consumption that increases the use of natural resources.

However, current economies are dependent on growth.
Too low or negative growth creates all sorts of economic and social problems. Rising unemployment, increasing poverty and mounting social tensions are just a few of these.

To resolve the conflict between environmental and socio-economic objectives, a new economic model is needed, one that is not based on growth.
At a very minimum, we should try to reduce our dependence on growth. Given the severity of environmental problems and the fact that increasing wealth does not bring happiness above a certain threshold, one would assume that economists and other researchers are busily working on finding alternative economic models. They are not.

Currently, there is minimal research on growth dependence.
Leading economists, for example, never question growth. The empty promise of politicians is "smart, sustainable and inclusive growth". Similarly, the environmental strategy of the OECD and the World Bank is just “green growth”, there is no “Plan B”. And – as of now – there is no funding for research on growth dependence, which can make one pessimistic about progress.

But this we can change!
By demanding funding for research on growth dependence, we can encourage thinking about the many complexities that need to be addressed in non-growing economies. In this way, new voices will be amplified in economics. If economists change, policy advice will change. Furthermore, public discourse will change. And, eventually, the world may change.

Please demand funding for research on economic systems that do not have to grow endlessly to avoid social problems.
This is an inevitable first step towards sustainable prosperity.

Thank you for signing and sharing the petition!

With hope:
Dr. Miklós Antal

Posted June 13, 2014
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