Few ideas are more central to the modern world than economic growth. It is linked to the advancement of knowledge, improvements in technology, and higher incomes. The rate of growth shapes our everyday experience and our expectations for the future. Growth has become one of the main organizing principles for our societies. Many politicians are keen to tell us how they will restore growth, while some use a lack of growth to justify cuts to public services.
But where does this growth come from, and how is it measured? How have some countries become richer than others? What are the consequences for the environment when growth demands ever more resources? Will growth threaten natural capital and worsen climate change? What are the prospects for further growth around the world?
Jonathan Temple explores these questions and investigates why growth may seem essential and what the pursuit of “more” is likely to mean in the twenty-first century.
Jonathan Temple is Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol.