Reclaiming Progress by Limiting Economic Growth

By Christopher A. Haines

The idea of progress was developed during the French Enlightenment as an optimistic belief in human potential encompassing intellectual, physical and spiritual health within an enlightened society working to maximize happiness. Progress became equated to and then supplanted by economic growth, assumed to be the means to that progress. We are now suffering from that assumption. It is time to acknowledge the limitations, the failings and the costs of economic growth as a means to bettering society. We need to take the opportunity, thrust upon us by environmental impacts to de-throne growth in order to reclaim human potential for social progress, increase happiness and maybe even save the planet.

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