Quantitative economic growth has been considered and is still being considered in many cases to be the central prerequisite of multiplication of wealth, safeguarding of jobs, avoidance of distribution conflicts and the financing of our social security systems. At the same time an exponential production expansion is generating a great number of environmental burdens and can thus reach its natural limits. In the case of potentially lastingly lower growth the question arises how those framework conditions can be changed which make the society and the economy presently so dependent on growth. Under discussion are framework conditions for “Macroeconomics for Sustainability” which are ecologically sustainable and socially equitable and which enable economic stability on the long run.
- Could the highly productive national economies also exist with a stagnating economic production over a longer period or even with a decline or is there something like a growth constraint in this respect?
- Which framework conditions must be changed in order to enable in an economy with low (or negative) growth rates a good life for all?
- Which political scientific and social barriers have to be overcome in order to carry out the necessary adaptations?
- How much economic production do we need? How can we achieve it in an ecologically compatible way and make it available for use to everybody?
- Which international regulatory provisions are necessary in a globalised world in order to support sustainable production? Can this happen solely by an economic policy oriented according to structural reforms? How shall globalised markets (financial markets, raw materials markets, etc.) be regulated?
Macroeconomics for Sustainability – growth with a negative connotation
The newly founded enterprises have also attracted many experts and students to the region – this is why investors are also interested in the small town as a location for their shopping centre.
Mrs. Little is happy about the additional offer of shops and hopes that now eventually international fashion chains will settle down in the small town. Mr. Little considers the construction of the shopping centre for his small town to be positive as well. More jobs – especially for commuters – mean more income for the region. However, he is also a little bit concerned about the environment. On the one hand a big plot of land which many inhabitants use as a short-distance recreational area shall be used as a building site. On the other hand, in order to connect the shopping centre to the existing infrastructure of the small town, new and broader roads must be built. Moreover, the traffic volume is rising. The international trade chains must supply their chain stores with goods. And the shopping centre attracts visitors from the whole region.
And the regional retail dealers in the centre of the town view the development exclusively negatively. They are concerned about their existence and complain that the profit of the trade chains is not invested on the spot.