Economic growth and sustainable development

The director of the research publication Our World in Data, Max Roser (2021), has explained in his article that with the advance of economic growth, a history of global poverty reduction has begun. In his opinion, the last two centuries have been the first in the history of mankind, when societies have achieved sustainable economic growth and the reduction of global poverty has been one of the most important achievements in history. Nevertheless, 62% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day and 86% on less than $30 a day. From the facts above, it can be concluded that continued economic growth is a way to reduce poverty.1

The United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs explains that worldwide consumption and production (a driving force of the global economy) rest on the use of the natural environment and resources in a way that continues to have destructive impacts on the planet. Economic and social progress over the last century has been accompanied by environmental degradation that is endangering the systems on which our survival depends.

If economic growth is an opportunity to reduce poverty, but economic growth itself is related to the intensification of the use of natural resources, which is accompanied by the destruction of ecosystems, then “by reducing poverty, we saw the branch on which we live”. Is there a way out of this dilemma? What could this way out be?

The aim of this training material is to draw students’ attention to the fact that a classic market economy based on the idea of continuous economic growth is unlikely to bring us closer to the goal of increasing the well-being of society. This material introduces the idea of economic growth and explains the factors that drive economic growth; it reviews a report where scientists conclude that on a finite planet Earth unlimited economic growth is impossible; it gives an overview of the concept of economic development and sustainable development; it also gives an overview of Agenda 2030 and SDGs. UN member states approved the SDGs in 2015, which means that actions to achieve these goals have already been taking place for the past 7 years. During this training, we are looking for evidence that our country is working to achieve the goals of sustainable development.

by Aija Kosk

1 Roser, M. (2021)

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