For critics, economic growth is a popular target.
Advocates against global warming and climate change say the industrialization that accompanies economic growth, alongside increased consumption, is a plague to the environment. This view was famously espoused by the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and critiqued in the context of extreme pollution in China.
For people of faith, growth is sometimes criticized for its ties to materialism, consumerism, and outright greed.
And more recently, income inequality has received lots of attention. Thomas Piketty’s book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” laments the increasing concentration of wealth that capitalism and economic growth have fostered. Similarly, President Obama has called income inequality “the defining challenge of our time.”
With an historical view of growth, an outstanding new Values & Capitalism video addresses each of these criticisms head-on:
Most importantly, the poorest quintile—in absolute terms—has experienced significant material gains as a result of economic growth. From 1979 to 2007, absolute income for the bottom 20 percent increased by 26 percent. Looking at the whole American population, the average worker in 1800 earned $1,050; in 2000, she earned $43,200.
For these and other reasons argued in this video, “growth is a moral imperative because it helps so many so much.”