End of Economic Growth
Might growth be ending? This is a heretical question. Yet an expert on productivity, Robert Gordon of Northwestern university, has raised it in a provocative paper. In this, he challenges the conventional view of economists that “economic growth . . . will continue indefinitely.”...
Yet unlimited growth is a heroic assumption. For most of history, next to no measurable growth in output per person occurred. What growth did occur came from rising population. Then, in the middle of the 18th century, something began to stir. Output per head in the world’s most productive economies - the U.K. until around 1900 and the U.S., thereafter - began to accelerate. Growth in productivity reached a peak in the two and a half decades after the Second World War. Thereafter growth decelerated again, despite an upward blip between 1996 and 2004.
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