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No inclusive development without a post-growth economy

Environmental degradation and social injustice are deeply enmeshed with the growth economy. Applying green and inclusive lubricants to its mechanisms is not the solution. We must abandon growth itself.

We live in a world where the richest 1% of the population earns as much as the poorest 50%. In the last 40 years, the average income of the 1% grew 11 times faster than the remaining 99%. Meanwhile, claims that extreme poverty has been reduced can only be upheld by setting the bar ridiculously low. A more credible approach suggests that the number of people worldwide whose incomes prevent them from escaping poverty rose by 150% in the last 40 years. Despite overwhelming proof to the contrary, the idea persists that the poor will somehow catch up. Pro-growth proponents insist that this is precisely because the benefits of growth are unevenly shared, that growth must become inclusive. We are supposed to step up our efforts to improve the conditions under which the poor are assimilated in the (usually) booming global economy. Informal workers, who constitute 61% of the global workforce, do indeed face precarious working conditions, low pay and human rights abuses. But growth won’t resolve these problems, for the simple reason that it gains from them. Read more…

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