Moral Consequences of Economic Growth

Throughout the industrialized World - and nowhere more than in the United States - governments, corporations, and individuals are preoccupied with economic growth. National progress is often measured by that yardstick. How far is this focus on material progress justified? It is often argued that economic growth is far too narrow an idea to be used as a measure of social advance, and that it is a mistake to strive for growth at the expense of other nonmaterial goals that may better contribute to the individual and collective welfare. In his new book, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth, Harvard economist Benjamin Friedman defends the idea of growth against this criticism. In discussion with Clive Crook he argues that growth is good and not just for material reasons. Its benefits go far beyond dollars and cents. He contends that growth creates and strengthens democratic institutions, establishes political stability, and enhances opportunity.

Festival: 2006

More on this Session

Watch and Listen: World

In the nearly 18 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has made an array of foreign policy changes. It began with... See more
Globalization ushered in an era of free trade, fluid borders, and unparalleled corporate profits. For its proponents,... See more
While the allegations of Russia’s 2016 election meddling have dominated US headlines, Vladimir Putin’s government is... See more
Donald Trump’s America First philosophy and his retreat from international alliances led pundits to dub Germany’s... See more
The last year has seen a clear trend toward a more authoritarian China at home and a more aggressive China overseas. As... See more
For our annual signature event in the Benedict Music Tent, the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival hosts former secretary of... See more

Pages