Volume 30, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2010
A Defense of Unbounded (but Not Unlimited) Economic Growth
The Ethics of Creating Wealth and Reducing Poverty
THIS ESSAY MAKES AN ETHICAL CASE FOR UNBOUNDED BUT NOT UNLIMited economic growth. The preliminary case for such growth is its correlation with significant reductions in global poverty and the wealth that is created by economic growth. The essay then seeks to show that opposition to growth often rests on controversial assumptions about the nature of markets and productivity. I challenge these assumptions by presenting two important developments in economic theory: new growth theory, especially as related to the work of economist Paul Romer, and evolutionary economics, a trajectory that has evolved into "complexity economics." An ethic of "creative abundance" is presented as a framework from within which to evaluate the prescriptive claims of the essay.