Green economy  |  Publications  |  12.03.2012

Green Growth is called into question

Can 'green growth‘ be the answer to the threats of global warming, inequality and the raw materials crisis we will be increasingly  facing in the coming years? Thomas Coutrot, the author of this report by the European Trade Union Institute argues that the general concept of growth should be put into questioning. Coutrot suggests that even if growth is produced in an environmentally friendly manner (or at least friendlier than it was before), our planet will still not be able to cope with it.

Not only will we be running out of many vital resources that are also needed in the ‘green’ industry, such as raw minerals and metals; but also the inequality between the global North and South will only increase as long as growth is the major driving factor of our economy.  

What we have to do is to rethink the fundamental macro-economic indicators taken into account that judge economic prosperity and include among these environmental indicators as well. As long as only volume and quantity are the factors taken into account when calculating economic progress, quality and sustainability will always remain unnoticed and unconsidered. 

The researcher also argues that the terms of working conditions and working time would also have to change to create a society that can sustain itself without relying on stable and never ending growth alone. 

Market mechanisms will not facilitate this change of directions. We need to subject this change to democratic processes and empower communities to take charge of their own futures. Citizens should, on the local and national level, establish the medium and long term needs of a socially and environmentally beneficial production system and discuss the conditions and solutions for creating a good quality of life for everyone.


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