Cameron Hepburn

1 August 2012

BBC R4 Stephanomics interview on growth


Stephanie Flanders asks if the current crisis shows that we should drop long-term economic growth as our principal aim and focus on other ways of achieving well-being and welfare.

In the final programme of the series, Stephanie Flanders discusses with three leading economists how far long-term economic growth should be the over-riding objective of governments and societies in countries like Britain.

In the boom years, we saw that growth did not automatically lead to increased human contentment or greater welfare. So should we continue to accord it the level of priority which British governments of all parties have given it over recent decades?

One of the reasons why long-term growth may not provide us with a greater sense of well-being is that it does not solve problems created by inequality. But if we had different economic aims would inequality be tackled more successfully? And if so, how?

If we decide to move away from faster growth as our economic objective, that would have other implications for the economy. Governments might no longer feel bound to create freer markets to drive growth. So where might such a dramatic shift in thinking take us? And what are the implications for things like the environment.

Among those joining Stephanie to discuss these ideas are the biographer of John Maynard Keynes, Lord Skidelsky; the environmental economist, Cameron Hepburn; and the leading advocate of free-markets, Patrick Minford.

Related BBC article:

Stephanomics on BBC iPlayer