To grow or not to grow? Revisiting economic growth as a Sustainable Development Goal in light of the degrowth debate

Malerba, Daniele / Yannik Oswald
External Publications (2022)

in: Breuer, Anita / Daniele Malerba / Srinivasa, Srigiri / Pooja Balasubramanian (eds.), Governing the interlinkages between the SDGs: approaches, opportunities and challenges, London: Routledge, 140-157

ISBN: 978-1-03-218465-4
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003254683
Open access

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) merge the three dimensions of sustainable development: environmental, social and economic. This chapter focuses on the specific goal of economic growth and the controversy surrounding it. It explores the SDGs of interest: economic growth, inequality, environmental footprints and poverty. In fact, it frames the decrease in inequality in terms of different growth rates rather than explicit redistribution of income and wealth. The inequality targets seem to be aligned with the economic growth ones but diametrically opposed to any degrowth notion. In fact, reaching the Paris Goals is nearly impossible under high economic growth and past trends of decoupling rates. We have shown this by developing a simple model of economic growth and Kaya decomposition. The growth vs. degrowth debate might welcome the “agrowth” perspective because it does not view growth necessarily as good or bad and is more flexible in adopting to the development needs of individual countries.

About the author

Malerba

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