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Limits to the growth paradigm

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This paper is a synthesis of several current controversies. It makes four broad claims: (1) that economic growth (as conventionally measured) is not, and never has been, the most important contributor to increasing human welfare; (2) that technological progress has always been the primary source of both growth and welfare (considered separately); (3) that trade was at best a minor contributor to growth in the past and is probably now contributing negatively to both national wealth and equity, hence to welfare, in Western Europe and North America and (4) that both growth (of GDP) and trade are increasingly incompatible with environmental protection. In fact, while increasing prosperity breeds environmental sensitivity, many of the processes by which it is achieved are environmentally destructive. The paper assembles and presents some of the key arguments and evidence

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