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Economic growth

Analysis and Comment (34)

The Earth is finite - so are there limits to growth? NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center/Flickr

Why uncontrolled climate change may be an ultimate limit to growth

“But who do you think’s right, Prof? The optimists or the pessimists?” At the end of my sustainability economics course in 2007, students were challenging me to end 20 years of professional fence-sitting…
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde says the economic recovery underway in many markets is “brittle, uneven and beset by risks". Dave Hunt/AAP

The world has an economic growth problem, and more G20 spending won’t fix it

Last week the IMF revised its 2014 global economic growth forecast down to 3.3% from the 3.7% expected six months ago, confirming that most economies around the world, Australia included, continue to underperform…
Economic growth is incompatible with the rapid emissions reductions that are now necessary. AAP Image/David Crosling

We need economic ‘degrowth’ to stop a carbon budget blowout

A newly released report called Better Growth, Better Climate draws the seductive conclusion that “we can create lasting economic growth while also tackling the immense risks of climate change”. But while…
Australia is a long way from consensus on G20 economic growth. Jason Reed/AAP

Australia may be hosting the G20, but it’s no G20 leader

When the central bank governors and finance ministers from the G20 agreed in February to increase growth by at least two percentage points over the next five years, they fell short of delivering a common…
Not the sort of coastal effects you can sweep under the rug. Jian Feng

China’s economic explosion is ravaging its coastal ecosystems

The speed and scale of China’s rapid economic growth has led to widespread degradation of its densely inhabited coastlines, according to an analysis of 60 years of social, economic and environmental data…
Manchester, could be part of a new megacity in the north. Daniel Nisbet

Building a second supercity starts with better transport

The UK’s economy is highly unbalanced; we have the worst regional disparities in the developed world and London’s property prices are also the world’s most expensive – second only to Monaco. Rebalancing…
Australians should step away from a “story-telling approach” when it comes the economy. AAP/Garry Schafer

Look at the data to understand the risks for the Australian economy

What are the risks in the economic outlook for Australia? Typically, prognosticators take a scenario-based (aka “story-telling”) approach to answering this sort of question. And usually these scenarios…
Spreading growth around. The_Virgo/Paul Callan

Deploy universities to fix England’s regional divide

Imbalances in the share of growth across the regions continue to be deep-rooted, the Office of National Statistics has confirmed. By 2012, the South East was the only region that had only just crept ahead…
Getting older people into tech is good for them and good for business. ArkanGL

Pension woes abound, but our tech future is just as pressing

Britons have been warned that they must save six times more for their pension or face poverty. The message is that it’s time to embrace deferred gratification and start saving. The average pension pot…
Protesters decry the weak outcomes of the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil last year. Wikimedia Commons/Aliencow

Still time to change Earth’s long-term forecast

After a lifetime promoting sustainability – sadly, with limited success – last year I sat down to consider what will happen to my beloved world over the next 40 years. The main question I asked myself…
Green shoots don’t become tall trees without long-term nurture. Skotkin

Growth based on consumption is only short-term relief

The Office for National Statistics has issued the welcome news that UK GDP rose 0.8% from July to September this year. This is the fastest rate of increase in the past three years and is the third consecutive…
What is the future of Australian productivity and investment after the mining boom? AAP/Christian Sprogoe

After the boom: where will growth come from?

Where will jobs and growth come from after the mining boom? This is the fundamental question facing the next Australian government, whose success will depend to a great extent on how it addresses this…
EU politicians get to grips with the latest science. European Union, 2013

Using small business to turn science into EU growth

When we think of cutting-edge innovation, we tend to think of big corporations and their latest wheezes: Google Glass, Sony flat screens or Airbus’s newest plane. But small businesses play key roles in…
Osborne: coming after an extra £11.5bn from departmental expenditure. PA

Spending review 2013: a triumph of politics over reason

The spending review is a strange beast. Invented by Gordon Brown, it would normally cover 3 to 4 years instead of a single year – but this one is aimed at 2015-16. Chancellor George Osborne’s 2010 Review…
Buying power doesn’t always stack up as the best measurement for who we are and how far we’ve come. Shutterstock/ MaleWitch

More pie in the sky - economic progress no slice of life

In the verbal volley between Gillard and Abbott, Swan and Hockey, there is a conversation that we are not hearing. It bubbles below the consciousness of mainstream Australia, a conversation that is old…
Time to start building, George. Lefteris Pitarakis/PA

IMF no longer BFF for Osborne

The International Monetary Fund’s annual investigation into the health of the UK economy makes ugly reading. The IMF points out that “per capita income remains 6% below its pre-crisis peak, making this…
The world is definitely a mess, but women aren’t the ones to blame. AAP Image

We are destroying the joint

Without really knowing what he was saying, Alan Jones was right – we are “destroying the joint”. Any dispassionate assessment of the state of “the joint”, both the corner we occupy and the planet as a…
Blanket Burmese School.

Shopping for change this Christmas

Four-year-old Ar Zin stared at my bag. He knew there was something special inside. The classroom full of 30 Burmese refugee children was so hushed that I could each child’s breath, and Ar Zin’s eyes followed…
Warnings of a drop in Australia’s real GDP per capita - a measure of living standards - still provide a stark contrast to Greece, where the real GDP per capita is likely to be 25% lower in 2013 than in 2008. AAP

Do dire warnings of falling living standards add up to need for tax reform?

Last week, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in a preliminary version of its 2012 Economic Outlook lowered its growth forecasts for Australia from 3.7% to 3.0% in 2013. This…
We’re banking on business as usual to solve our environmental problems, but we’re likely to be disappointed. Tony.../Flickr

The carbon tax: markets won’t deliver necessary emission cuts

Australia will introduce a carbon tax on Sunday at A$23 per tonne of carbon. In 2015, an emissions trading scheme (ETS) will replace the tax. The aim is to cut Australian greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions…
Highly processed and fattening but very tasty and easy to get food is partly responsible for the obesogenic environment. Toban Black

What’s economic growth got to do with expanding waistlines?

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it - Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic. Today we look…
In the aftermath of the Greek elections, there have been renewed calls to accompany austerity measures with pro-growth policies.

Austerity and growth: trying to make sense of a contradiction

Having read that the outcome of the Greek elections points to a continuation of the push for fiscal austerity in that country, my heart sunk. Then I see that our own Prime Minister has been quoted as telling…
Darkness visible: we’re driving animals to extinction, burning through resources, and throwing out natural balances, yet consumption still reigns. Flickr/NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

State of the future: challenge one; sustainable development and climate change

State of the Future 2012, a quick introduction What is the “state of the future”? How successfully are we tackling global challenges threatening our collective future? These questions are asked annually…

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