Journal Article

Is a democratic–capitalist system compatible with a low-growth or steady-state economy?

Philip Lawn

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 3, issue 2, pages 209-232
Published in print May 2005 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online May 2005 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/SER/mwi009
Is a democratic–capitalist system compatible with a low-growth or steady-state economy?

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Many ecological economists have called for a rapid transition to a low-growth and eventual steady-state economy. In response, a number of observers have questioned the capacity for a democratic-capitalist system to achieve such a goal. Others simply refute the suggestion that growth needs to be curtailed. It is argued in this paper that: (a) growth is eventually detrimental to human well-being and, as a consequence, a steady-state economy is a long-run necessity; (b) a steady-state economy can accommodate the requirements of a capitalist system; and (c) a would-be-government wishing to impose the macro constraints advocated by ecological economists to bring forth a steady-state economy is potentially electable. As such, there is no reason why a steady-state economy and a democratic–capitalist system should not thrive in each other's presence.

Keywords: democratic–capitalist system; limits to growth; steady-state economy; JEL classification: P16; Q20; Q43

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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