Beyond growth

We have reached the bio-physical limits to economic growth much earlier than most people and experts expected. The “Beyond growth conference” at the European Parliament 15.-17.5.2023 is quite unanimous in this verdict of collective failure. Some advocate “degrowth” in various forms. Maybe the framing of how to address the vital topic of how to set objectives for a post-growth economy needs an even broader perspective. It is a global issue, but the industrial growth societies around the globe will have to work together to find and implement solutions. The worldwide conference COP-XY are hardly delivering on the issue. At best they satisfy the ego of political leaders to address important issues providing nice images from nice places in the world (Paris agreement) to advance their own political campaigns.
From an economist’s view rather than solving a very complex issue with uncertain outcome, it is more instructive to, for example, start to produce the same economic and social well-being by using much less natural resources above all climate-toxic elements (Carbon-dioxide CO2, Chlorofluorocarbons CFC, or methane). These are simple first steps with a rather immediate effect. After the recent crises we have learned to safe resources (heating) and reduce mobility, just continuing on this trajectory is feasible. Vastly excessive forms of consumption need to be capped through targeted taxes that allow redistribution or investment in reduction of pollution. It isn’t hard to do, or “It’s easy, if you try“, we might sing.