We’re addicted to growth – here are six ways to wean ourselves off

From corporate power to climate change – we must overcome many hurdles if we are to get off our broken economic treadmill.

Since the late 1970s humanity has been on a self-constructed economic treadmill. We have believed that our economies must grow because we think this is progress. If the economic motor slows, economists, politicians and business leaders tell us, the consequences will be dire. Jobs will be lost and factories forced to close. Inequalities will widen further. Investment will slow and house prices will fall.

The 2008 financial crisis saw countries adopt extreme measures to keep the economic wheels turning, for example by reducing interest rates to record lows, pumping billions into the system through quantitative easing in the US, Japan, the UK and the euro-area, and striking trade deals to open markets further. These are not just western phenomena, as China injecting billions to fuel consumption and protect stock market investors demonstrates.

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