The End of the Endless Growth Paradigm

A pupa turning to a butterfly

The endless growth paradigm has been a fixture of modern financial and economic philosophy. Up and to the right being the only acceptable direction for the projections to be headed when the financial projections are presented to the board. Nevertheless, the long overdue winds of change are starting to blow. The 21st century has seen the rise of social movements to address issues of environmental catastrophe and every growing economic inequality. Through these lenses, we are starting to realize the broader perspective businesses need to consider. That our oceans and rainforests are much more important than revenue and the CEO shouldn’t be making obscene amounts of money off the backs of people in his company who aren’t being paid a living wage. It’s no longer a given that corporations should pursue growth at all costs. We are starting to see the inherent error in assuming we can achieve never ending growth in a world of finite resources.

In this eye-opening talk by Oxford Economist Kate Raworth, she offers up a new shape when it comes to economics, one with a higher ambition that can’t be measured by money. As Raworth points out, when we look to nature, we learn that nothing grows forever and that when something tries to within a healthy, thriving system it’s a threat to the health of the whole. She asks, why would economics be the one system that can buck this trend?

We are believers that the framework we use to measure success needs to be more robust than the trajectory of the bottom line. Don’t get me wrong, profitability is important, but it’s not the be all end all when it comes to evaluating the impact a business has on the world.

A Healthy Economy Should Be Designed to Thrive, Not Grow