Richard Heinberg’s new book, The End of Growth, is generating a lot of publicity. It claims that, despite what many politicians and policymakers are saying, growth will not return to the major economies. The enormous sums that governments around the world have spent trying to stimulate growth during the recession have brought no meaningful gains. For Heinberg, the very idea of ‘perpetual growth’, shared by both Keynesian New Deal economics and trickle-down Reagonomics, is over.
Heinberg claims it is unlikely that developed economies will adapt to this new reality voluntarily or anytime soon. In fact, governments, corporations and large-scale institutions will most likely try to obstruct changes to the status quo. As a consequence, Heinberg focuses on what individuals and local communities can do to help with the transition towards a zero growth economy.
I find myself firmly on the ‘growth is good’ side of the debate. This article, by Daniel Ben-Ami, sums up my position. Up to a point.