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Three similarities between economic growth and sustainable development

By John Ikerd A sustainable economy must arise from and be supported by a consensus of society regarding the mission of the economy.

Content: Economic Growth Vs Economic Development

The basic nature of an economy invariably reflects the consensus, or at least the acquiescence, of the society within which the economy functions. Lacking a societal consensus for sustainability, governments cannot sustain the political power necessary to protect their natural and human resources from extraction and exploitation or to make the social and ecological investments essential for economic sustainability.

The sustainable level of energy throughout is defined by the ability to sequester useful energy from the daily inflow of solar energy and the capacity of nature to absorb, detoxify, or neutralize the outflow of wastes. A steady state economy is typically described as an economy that maintains a constant population, meaning a constant three similarities between economic growth and sustainable development of labor and constant stocks of natural and financial capital, including personal wealth.

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Any growth in total economic output or aggregate personal wealth must come from increased efficiency in energy use, accompanied by a comparable reduction of the wastes that must be detoxified by nature.

The sustainable productive capacity of the global economy is thus limited by a natural ecosystem that is three similarities between economic growth and sustainable development finite and fragile.

Economic Growth Is Not Sustainable Regardless of the specific economic model or paradigm, the first step toward a consensus of economic sustainability is a general understanding that economic growth is not sustainable. For example, economic growth rates of 2 percent to 3 percent would be considered very modest by standards of the industrial era. However, with an annual growth rate of only 2.

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Such an economy would be equivalent to a global population of three similarities between economic growth and sustainable development billion people spending nearly one-million dollars every minute of every day of the year. Furthermore, this amount would more than double over next 30 years and quadruple in 60 years. Obviously, the economic growth rates of the industrial era were an aberration in human history that will not be sustainable in the future.

Three similarities between economic growth and sustainable development

Quality of Life Economic growth is no longer a logical mission for sustainable economies. The logical mission is, as it has always been, the pursuit of happiness or quality of life. Such a change will not likely take place until people — individually, nationally, and globally — understand and accept that economic well-being is no more important than is social and ethical well-being.

Key Differences Between Economic Growth and Economic Development

Throughout human history, people have known that beyond some basic level of physical and mental well-being there is no relationship between further increases in income three similarities between economic growth and sustainable development wealth and increases in happiness or overall quality of life.

Once the basic human needs for food, clothing, shelter, health care, and other essentials have been met, quality of life depends far more on the quality of social relationships and their sense of purpose in life than on the quantity of income or wealth.

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In general, as developing economies have grown beyond this modest level, there has been no consistent relationship between further economic growth and greater happiness or overall well-being.

Their economies are already producing far more than enough economic output to meet their basic human needs. Three similarities between economic growth and sustainable development economic mission of the industrial era has been accomplished, at least for those in the so-called developed nations. In fact, there has been no indication of further increases in happiness or quality of life in the developed or industrial economies over the past 50 years.

Some people in these nations are still in economic need, but only because their societies have failed to ensure social equity and justice.

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This is not an economic problem but a social and ethical problem. In addition, they can develop their economies without sacrificing their cultures, communities, and families.

Such nations can balance their necessary economic growth with equally necessary social responsibility and ecological integrity. Unsustainable population growth likewise can be avoided by ensuring social and economic equity and security rather than pursuing unsustainable economic growth, as explained in The Essentials of Economic Sustainability.

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Sustainable development may be slower and more difficult than industrial three similarities between economic growth and sustainable development, but in a world running out of fossil energy, sustainable development is the most logical alternative for the future for all nations. Bringing Economic, Moral And Social Needs Together Admittedly, we humans are economic beings; we need food, clothing, shelter, — the necessities of life. However, we humans also are social beings; we need to be accepted, respected, cared for, and loved.

And, we are also moral beings; we need a sense of purpose and meaning in life. The essential mission of a sustainable economy must be to advance individual happiness and overall societal well-being. In happiness, there are no limits to growth.