Ann Pettifor

‘Growth’ as flawed concept, and inherent to case for globalisation

In the latest PRIME publication by Dr. Geoff Tily “On Prosperity, Growth and Finance” the author elaborates on an earlier theme: the development of the economic concept of ‘growth’ in the 1960s by orthodox economists.  Tily points out that growth is not just a relatively recent and post-World War II preoccupation, it must also be understood as “inherent to the case for a globalized system.”

Tily notes that Keynes was concerned with the level of economic activity – output and employment. Before the Second World War “there was no sense of a systematic, and to some extent uniform, rate of change of the level at which an economy operated.” As orthodox economists struggled to build a rival system to Keynes’s, they set the world “a systematic and improbable target: to chase growth.  Nobody seems to have paused to consider whether growth derived as the rate of change of a continuous function was a meaningful or valid way to interpret changes in the size of economies over time” writes Tily.

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