Slower by Design, Not Disaster
- Advances in Ecological Economics series
Chapter 2: Why Manage Without Growth?
2. Why manage without growth? Providing for the well being of a still growing world population within the limits of a ﬁnite planet is the key challenge for our future. (Eleven National Organizations 2006, Consensus Statement 2006) Most people understand the need to manage growth. Cities become unpleasant when they get too big. Urban sprawl, gridlock and road rage are well known to many of us and continue to challenge the best minds among planners and politicians. Green belts, car free zones, intensiﬁcation, transit – these are just some of the solutions that help but are not up to the job of containing urbanization as it spreads across the landscape. Still, we keep trying. Growth of entire economies also requires management. This is the job of departments of ﬁnance and central bankers who strive for but seldom achieve a steady year over year increase in economic output with high employment and stable prices, with additional objectives for government ﬁnances, savings rates, trade balances, capital ﬂows, exchange rates and the like. Economic growth also brings related problems that must be managed. High on this list is what is commonly termed the environment, a catchall for a whole host of air, water, land and resource issues and concern for other species. That is why we have government departments and agencies charged with safeguarding the environment, protecting wildlife, and conserving natural resources. In most countries, their record in doing all this is mixed at best. But this book is not about managing growth....
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