Growth, a-growth or degrowth to stay within planetary boundaries?

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The environmental sustainability of economic growth has been subject to much debate for many decades. Recently, two alternatives to the growth paradigm have been put forward: namely, a-growth and degrowth. The first proposes to ignore GDP information and focus instead on sound environmental, social, and economic policies independently of their effects on economic growth. The second recommends a downscaling of the economy so as to make it consistent with biophysical boundaries. We compare these approaches in the context of the growth paradigm and examine whether they have any merit. We further consider the potential contribution of institutional economics to further develop such alternatives. © 2012, Journal of Economic Issues/Association for Evolutionary Economics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-919
JournalJournal of Economic Issues
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • a-growth
  • degrowth
  • environmental sustainability
  • gross domestic product (GDP)
  • growth paradigm


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