Although there is a lot of emphasis given to modern economic growth, when I compare my father’s time with mine, I find that the current economic situation has not given me any advantage in terms of the choice of what to do with my life and time.
Despite the facts indicating that a growth in the economy results to an improvement in the standard of living of the citizens in a country, it is also evident that in nations where real incomes are high, economic growth can affect the living standards of the people adversely.
From one perspective, an increase in economic growth will result to a rise in GDP per capita that can ensure happiness in a society. On the other hand, we do not need economy to grow since it will not assist in solving some several basic human challenges/behaviors such as stealing, feeling of being poor, or even help to make people charitable. Additionally, with increasing environmental challenges that are facing humanity, economic growth could aggravate these problems, and result in reduced conditions of living.
As such, some saints have argued that any government should strive to create social harmony instead of only being concerned about raising the Real GDP levels. However, it does not mean that we have to forego economic growth so that we can achieve the noble ideals of greater harmony. Additionally, it is also wrong to assume that negative economic growth will help to overcome the fundamental human problems.
Thus, the question as to whether we need economic growth or not is a valid one. In one sense, we can conclude – not really. However, if well-planned, it can result to improvements in the well-being of the people as opposed to causing them harm. For these reasons, I view economic growth as a neutral component for the well-being of the people as long as they understand its limitations.