The Growth Report

I haven’t made a habit of covering the latest news from the economic growth debate, but there’s more going on than usual at the moment and it might be time to bring back the regular report. Here are some highlights from this week:
Britain’s economy grew at its fastest rate in nine years in the second quarter of 2010, according to the Office of National Statistics. GDP increases of 1.2% were last seen in 2001. Ireland’s economy on the other hand shrank by 1.2% in the second quarter – but this isn’t a recession, leaders were quick to point out. It doesn’t officially become a ‘double-dip’ until you have two consecutive quarters of negative growth. One thing we might want to note is that Ireland’s swift and decisive programme of cuts was much praised at the time and served as the model for ours in the UK.
This article in the Independent reports from a debate at the Sustainable Planet Forum in France, in which former Conservative MP Peter Ainsworth demonstrates a classic response to anyone who questions growth:

“people who live in real poverty, whether in the deprived cities or rural areas of the developed West or in the developing world, talk about prosperity. They want economic growth because it is a natural thing to want. They want more stuff… Try telling people in Albania you want to offer them degrowth. You won’t get a friendly answer.”

Fair point, those living in poverty need growth, but does that make more growth for the rich a good thing? Ainsworth acknowledges that if everyone on the planet lived like Americans, we’d need five planets – but then assumes that the US economy should still grow.

That’s the Indy’s third article in a week mentioning post growth economics. Here are the others:

If you want regular updates on the latest post-growth articles, sign up to the #PostGrowth Daily, the twitter hash-tag generated daily front page.

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