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zero growth


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The state of an economy without further expansion of activity. This term occurs in two contexts: in some poor and backward economies where it is a fact, it is called stagnation and is rightly regarded as a problem; in some very advanced and wealthy economies, however, worries about pollution and the exhaustion of natural resources lead to zero growth being propounded as an ideal. This raises two problems: first, if resources really are exhaustible then no positive rate of depletion is permanently sustainable, and advanced economies must evolve to survive; second, the vast majority of the world's inhabitants are far poorer than the advocates of zero growth. They would have to become far richer than they now are, consume vastly more resources, and produce far more pollution, before they would be in the least likely to join in advocating zero growth as an ideal.

Subjects: Economics.


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