Growth – Not a German Prioritiy Anymore

As the global economic crisis frightens people all over the world, destroys jobs and shatters public and private finances, growth seems to be the universally accepted solution. And this notwithstanding the fact that there is little doubt that economic growth cannot be sustained forever, at least not on a planet with limited resources. Another issue with growth is, that it has been clearly established that at high income levels, growth that does contribute to more happiness. Therefore, growth not only seems unsustainable but also pretty useless. As it happens, Germans seem to be starting to understand that there are more important goals than consuming more and more goods. According to a recent poll, only 33% consider economic growth to be helpful for the well-being of a society, and 8 in 10 citizens think that Germany needs to fundamentally reform its economic system.

Brightnews! It is certainly very positive, that the general focus on economic growth as problem solver gives way to a more comprehensive and sustainable world view. Germany, already a frontrunner in the green economy, could also lead to way to a more balanced and sustainable mix between economic, social and environmental goals. We clearly need a more sustainable solution to the current structural woes of many countries than just create new bubbles laying the basis for the next crisis. I am persuaded that any real long term solution needs to take into account that we cannot rely on indefinite growth in order keep going. It will be a long process, also in Germany, but this should not deter anybody from starting it, but on the contrary should motivate us to try harder.

 

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