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Can the World’s economy keep growing, regardless of the impact on natural resources and the environment?

Is long-term economic growth sustainable? Do the wealthy  benefit most from it? Can capitalism survive the 21st century without reform?

In this podcast I speak with international economist and former Australian politician, Prof. John Hewson.

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  1. Gerry Graham 11 February 2023 at 10:41 - Reply

    Not just growth but is necessary twin. Urbanisation. It is cities that are the biggest consumers of resources- just drive into Sydney and look at the millions of cubic kms of concrete! With every 1% increase in urbanisation CO2 levels increase by 1.28%. Cities are bad for health and have been through all history. COVID spread because of and within cities
    Almost all key decision makers and decision influencers live in the cities. Oblivious to the huge consumption of energy needed to maintain their lifestyles they call for others to make changes

  2. Gerry 21 February 2023 at 16:42 - Reply

    It isn’t so much growth as it’s twin – Urbanisation. The more civilization progresses the greater the extent of urbanisation. In the early stages the necessary investment in cities produces not only growth but greater benefits for all. But the larger the cities become the greater the investment and greater consumption of resources is needed with progressively less benefit – other than perhaps GDP.
    We can see this in Sydney, the first motorways were relatively simple structures that delivered huge benefit for most, if not all. Now the infrastructure developments are complex, huge and consume enormous quantities of resources and produce millions of tonnes of CO2. And benefitting only a minority.
    As cities grow, so does the divide between those that are “privileged” and those that provide the necessary services for cities to function. With the “privileged” living close to the city centres with all the best facilities, whilst those providing the services have to live further and further out with less access to the best health, education and recreation facilities. Worse, these divisions are becoming more entrenched and intergenerational.
    For every 1% increase in urbanisation there is a 1.28% increase in CO2 emissions. The bigger the cities the more energy is needed to supply and maintain the lifestyles of the minority in the urban centres.
    Cities are inherently bad for health, and what we call “lifestyle diseases” are essentially “city diseases” and the more resources required to maintain the health of city dwellers. Pandemics flourish on account of cities.

    There are undoubted benefits from cities but it is not a linear progression there is always a point where the benefits no longer match the increasing need for resources. This is expressed in the common refrain “ The Government says that GDP has grown by x% but why do I feel worse off?”

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