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

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