The Trouble with Growth (Chapter 3)


Is never-ending economic growth a threat that is hidden in plain view?


Economic growth drives most environmental problems, and it has produced a world in which human activities have grown too large for the planet to accommodate them sustainably. Forests are scalped, rivers run dry, species are going extinct, and humans are changing the climate, all driven by the pursuit of growth. Yet few recognize that growth itself needs to be abandoned as a national goal.

Growth is widely regarded as inevitable and indispensable, but as a matter of national policy it is barely 50 years old. Fortunately, as Peter A. Victor and Tim Jackson argue, an economy that is not driven by growth of material throughput—yet that still offers adequate employment and reduces inequality and environmental impact—is achievable.


Our preoccupation with economic growth often has impeded action on issues that really will improve human well-being and the prospects for all life on Earth. This is the trouble with growth."

- Peter A. Victor and Tim Jackson in "Emerging Diseases from Animals"


Peter A. Victor presents his chapter at the State of the World book launch in Washington, D.C.

About Confronting Hidden 

Threats to Sustainability

We think we understand environmental damage: pollution, water scarcity, a warming world. But these problems are just the tip of the iceberg. Deeper issues include food insecurity, financial assets drained of value by environmental damage, and a rapid rise in diseases of animal origin. These and other problems are among the underreported consequences of an unsustainable global system.
In State of the World 2015, the flagship publication of the Worldwatch Institute, experts explore hidden threats to sustainability and how to address them. Eight key issues are addressed in depth, along with the central question of how we can develop resilience to these and other shocks. With the latest edition of State of the World, the authorities at Worldwatch bring to light challenges we can no longer afford to ignore.



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