Davos and “the limits to growth”

In: Uncategorized

4 Feb 2007

Looking again at the material from the recent World Economic Forum the references to the Limits to Growth report are interesting. The 1972 report from the Club of Rome advocated zero economic growth and predicted dire consequences as a result of humanity’s increasing use of resources. In contrast, at the opening address at Davos the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, rejected the zero growth approach. Instead she favoured what she called an intelligent combination of economy and ecology. This is in line with Germany’s motto of “growth and responsibility” for its presidency of the G8.

There was also a session at Davos specifically on “the next limits to growth”. It evidently started positively by attacking what one of the panellists called “doomsayers”. But the apparently positive start was qualified by fears such as an alleged water shortage and the supposed dangers of population growth.

Both sets of sessions seem to include classic growth sceptic formulations. They say growth is a good thing to begin with then add numerous caveats.

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