Events - 11.05.2016 - 00:00 

For a “post-growth economy”

British professor of economics Tim Jackson spoke at the opening of the 46th St Gallen Symposium on “The Case for Slower Growth – But How?”

12 May 2016. Tim Jackson, professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey, UK, highlighted where growth is most important: in the world’s poorest countries. For example, growth in per capita annual income from USD 5,000 to USD 10,000 causes life expectancy to leap upwards and infant mortality to fall dramatically. Access not only to healthcare services but also to education, for example, is greatly improved. “We should make room for growth in low-income economies,” Jackson said.

What do we want from our economy?

But what is the significance of growth in rich, materially saturated countries? Certainly not the same as in developing countries. “We should think about a post-growth economy,” he said. That includes considering what we actually want and expect from our economies. Jackson advocated “prosperity that transcends material concerns”, investments that improve quality of life, such as in clean energy sources, as well as environmental protection, in general, and health care.

Sustainability instead of just growth

The professor also advocated investments that will give the poorest people in rich countries better opportunities and quality of life. Jackson therefore urged today’s students to seek a “different kind of dialogue about the economy of tomorrow”. It is not easy to guide our economy from a dominant growth approach to a new sustainability approach. Yet this difficult task is exactly what the decision-makers of the future should be pursuing, he said.

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