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Reform Magazine | December 5, 2023

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A good question: What’s go good about growth?

A good question: What’s go good about growth?

One question, four answers

‘The driver of growth is debt’

The year 2100 is the date to watch, apparently. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a stark warning: we are on track for runaway global temperature rises that will collapse civilisations and destroy up to 90% of earth’s species. Billions of humans will have died by 2100. How is human activity degrading the ability of the planet to sustain life? I hasten to qualify that question: not all humans are ripping through the earth’s resources, only those of us shaped by the assumptions and practices of the economics of empire that see growth as an unimpeachable good, the primary cure for all social problems…

Kevin Snyman is the URC’s Programme Officer for Global Justice and Partnerships


‘Growth is an unexamined idol’

Consider the word ‘growth’, its meaning, implications and caveats, on the tongue of an oncologist; the parent of a young child; a farmer and a politician. Then take as the framework of this reflection the admonition of the prophet Micah: ‘Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.’..

Jill Segger is a Quaker, writer, and Contributing Editor to the reflection, briefing and policy organisation, Ekklesia


‘It gives us choices we did not have before’

Are you sitting comfortably? Then look around your living room and compare it in your mind’s eye with your first visit to your grandparents’ living room. Your television may be larger and perhaps it is even in colour! They never had a little machine they could tap to make the shopping arrive at the front door. Live moving pictures of the Australian cousins did not appear on a screen on their laps. Are you thankful whenever you come home on a February evening and find that, as if by magic, the central heating has already warmed up your home? When a close relative of mine was diagnosed with cancer 50 years ago, everyone knew what the outcome would be. When a close relative of mine was diagnosed with cancer last year, recent medical science meant we could reasonably hope for a less grim outcome…

John Ellis holds a first-class degree in economics from Cambridge University and was for a decade the Treasurer of the United Reformed Church


‘Capitalism is exploitative’

For much of its existence the prosperity of western society has been based on the pursuit of economic growth as a means of increasing wealth. Such growth has been underpinned by the capitalist model of free markets, the primacy of the shareholder and an expectation of perpetual increase in profits. This has led to the continuous need to increase the size of existing, and creation of, new markets, accompanied by cycles of boom and bust….

Anthony Obi-Ezekpazu is Treasurer of the United Reformed Church Thames North Synod


This is an extract from an article published in the February 2023 edition of Reform

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