During the 17th and 18th centuries the rise of mercantile power, colonialism and a slave economy was associated with the development of the idea that “improvement” meant production growth and was an indicator of a new idea of progress. This was a core idea in Adam Smith’s book The Wealth of Nations. In it Smith described the production increase at the early stages of the industrial revolution as being the result of an increasing division of labour and specialisation – his famous example being the pin factory.
You are here
greenhouse gas emissions
"If we want to have any hope of averting catastrophe, we’re going to have to do something about our addiction to growth."
Earlier this summer, a paper published in the journal Nature captured headlines with a rather bleak forecast. Our chances of keeping global warming below the 2C danger threshold are very, very small: only about 5%. The reason, according to the paper’s authors, is that the cuts we’re making to greenhouse gas emissions are being cancelled out by economic growth.