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Decoupling is refers to an economy that would be able to grow without corresponding increases in environmental impact.


  • The modern economy is structurally reliant on economic growth for its stability. [...] But question it we must. [...] No subsystem of a finite system can grow indefinitely – at least in physical terms. Economists have to be able to answer the question of how a continually growing economic system can fit within a finite ecological system. The only answer available is that growth in dollars must be 'decoupled' from growth in physical throughputs and environmental impacts. But [...] this hasn't so far achieved what's needed. There are no prospects for it doing so in the immediate future. And the sheer scale of decoupling required to meet the limits set out here (and stay within them in perpetuity while the economy keeps on growing) staggers the imagination. In short, we have no alternative but to question growth. The myth of growth has failed us.

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