Over at dotcommonweal, I have posted a lengthy discussion of Fred Hirsch’s The Social Limits to Growth, and the light that this 1970’s overlooked classic sheds on our acute problems of poverty and inequality.
Our problem now is that “more of the same solution” won’t work… and we are very reluctant to understand and acknowledge this. Why won’t it work? The best explanation of this problem still lies in a prescient book from the mid-1970’s by economist Fred Hirsch, called The Social Limits to Growth. As opposed to the rising popularity of what became “Reaganomics,” Hirsch’s book provides a different and very sophisticated two-pronged critique of the possibility of sustaining the “economic growth for all” Keynesian model that predominated in the post-WW2 situation. These two prongs are the “social limits to growth” – that is, limits on the extent to which economic growth powered by individual self-interest produces collective well-being.
Read the whole thing here.