To the Editor:
Eduardo Porter (“No Growth, No World? Think About It,” Economic Scene, Dec. 2) generously cites our work but doesn’t convey the main findings of our research.
Working independently and together over many years, we have concluded that continual economic growth is neither sustainable nor (ultimately) desirable.
Increasingly, the data show that the capacity of the planet to support long-term economic growth is already overstretched, with severe consequences for climate change, deforestation, species loss, soil degradation, ocean contamination and atmospheric pollution.
We recognize that growth has brought huge improvements in the lives of some of the world’s population, and also that there are parts of the world where it will still be needed for some time. But we have become increasingly convinced, like many others, that the conditions for true prosperity, particularly in rich countries, can no longer be achieved solely through relentless economic expansion.
In these circumstances, far from being a “nonstarter,” imagining a world without growth is among the most vital and urgent tasks for society to engage in.
PETER A. VICTOR
The writers are, respectively, a professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey, England, and a professor in environmental studies at York University