Economic growth is the increase in the market value of the goods and services produced by an economy over time. It is conventionally measured as the percent rate of increase in real gross domestic product, or real GDP. Of more importance is the growth of the ratio of GDP to population (GDP per capita), which is also called per capita income. An increase in per capita income is referred to as intensive growth. GDP growth caused only by increases in population or territory is called extensive growth.
- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- The little jihad is over, and now we have the bigger jihad - the bigger battle is achieving security and economic growth.
- Mahmoud Abbas Campaign speech in Gaza City (20 August 2005), quoted in New York Times (21 August) Hamas Pushing for Lead Role in a New Gaza by James Bennet.
- Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
- Edward Abbey, The Journey Home, 1977 ("The Second Rape of the West", page 183).
- The reason it's on the rise is because probably the boom times are getting even more boomer.
- Bertie Ahern in: The Irish Times newspaper article, 14 July, 2006: Commenting on rising inflation in the Irish economy. Economic growth shows little sign of letting up.
- It is the welfare state that has made capitalism, with all its attendant benefits of economic growth, politically feasible.
- Nicholas Barr Economics Of The Welfare State (Fourth Edition) Chapter 15, Conclusion, p. 359.
- There’s no denying that a collapse in stock prices today would pose serious macroeconomic challenges for the United States. Consumer spending would slow, and the U.S. economy would become less of a magnet for foreign investors. Economic growth, which in any case has recently been at unsustainable levels, would decline somewhat. History proves, however, that a smart central bank can protect the economy and the financial sector from the nastier side effects of a stock market collapse.
- World economies are growing, not shrinking, and emissions will therefore continue to rise. The human population of nearly 8 billion people may soon climb to 10 billion or more. The world’s two most populous nations, China and India, are rapidly modernizing, and creating ever-greater consumer- oriented middle classes, while on a building spree of new power plant construction to meet rising demand. In China, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and every nation where average income levels are rising, meat consumption -- a major contributor to climate change and every major environmental problem -- is increasing as well.
- Steven Best, "Failed Species: The Rise and Fall of the Human Empire". Romanian Journal of Artistic Creativity. 9 (2). (2021).
- Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.
- Kenneth Boulding, "The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth" (1966), in Victor D. Lippit, ed., Radical Political Economy, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. p 362.
- Conservation biologists agree that humanity is on the verge of causing a mass extinction and that its primary driver is our immense and rapidly expanding global economy.
- I want to make it clear, if there is ever a conflict (between environmental quality and economic growth), I will go for beauty, clean air, water, and landscape.
- Jimmy Carter, quoted in the New York Times, September 19, 1976.
- Economists with a historical bent have only just begun to study institutional change and its impact on industrial organization. Douglass C. North has been the innovator here. In his work with Lance E. Davis he outlined a most useful theory of institutional change and applied it to American economic growth. In his study with Robert Paul Thomas he demonstrated how the changing industrial organization affected the rise of the west. The works of North and his colleagues use this sweeping panorama of history to test, buttress, and refine their theory. They have not yet focused on a detailed analysis of the historical development of any specific economic institution.
- Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. The Visible Hand (1977) p. 5.
- [W]e have crossed a great divide, between what we used to do in all of previous human history and what we do now. Utopia, it is true, this is not. I imagine Bellamy would be at once impressed and disappointed.
The economic historian Richard Easterlin helps explain why. ...With our increasing wealth, what used to be necessities become matters of little concern ...conveniences turn into necessities. Luxuries turn into conveniences. And we humans envision and then create new luxuries. ...He saw humanity on a hedonic treadmill: "...the triumph of economic growth is not a triumph of humanity over material wants; rather, it is a triumph of material wants over humanity." ...[T]his hedonic treadmill is one powerful reason why, even when all went very well, we only slouched rather than galloped toward utopia.
- J. Bradford DeLong, Slouching Towards Utopia: An Economic History of the Twentieth Century (2022) Introduction, "My Grand Narrative."
- Generation after generation thinks it needs only another ten or twenty percent more income to be perfectly happy... In the end, the triumph of economic growth is not a triumph of humanity over material wants; rather, it is the triumph of material wants over humanity.
- Richard A. Easterlin, Growth Triumphant: The Twenty-first Century in Historical Perspective (1996) p. 154.
- This Constitution does not reflect the thoughts, hopes and aspirations of ordinary people. It does nothing for jobs or economic growth and widens further still the democratic deficit. The gap between the governors and the governed is now a gaping chasm.
- As Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani showed how exercising fiscal discipline, including tax cuts, lowers deficits, spurs economic growth, and increases revenue. It is time the rest of the country benefit from a true fiscal conservative leader who gets real results.
G - L
- Keynes himself had in his day been known to make some fairly radical noises, for instance, calling for the complete elimination of that class of people who lived off other people's debts—"the euthanasia of the rentier," as he put it—though all he really meant by this was their elimination through a gradual reduction of interest rates. As in much of Keynesianism, this was much less radical than it first appeared. Actually, it was thoroughly in the great tradition of political economy, hearkening back to Adam Smith's ideal of a debtless utopia but especially David Ricardo's condemnation of landlords as parasites, their very existence inimical to economic growth.
- Intensive research in recent years into the sources of economic growth among both developing and developed nations generally point to a number of important factors: the state of knowledge and skill of a population; the degree of control over indigenous natural resources; the quality of a country's legal system, particularly a strong commitment to a rule of law and protection of property rights; and yes, the extent of a country's openness to trade with the rest of the world. For the United States, arguably the most important factor is the type of rule of law under which economic activity takes place. When asked abroad why the United States has become the most prosperous large economy in the world, I respond, with only mild exaggeration, that our forefathers wrote a constitution and set in motion a system of laws that protects individual rights, especially the right to own property. Nonetheless, the degree of state protection is sometimes in dispute. But by and large, secure property rights are almost universally accepted by Americans as a critical pillar of our economy. While the right of property in the abstract is generally uncontested in all societies embracing democratic market capitalism, different degrees of property protection do apparently foster different economic incentives and outcomes.
- Alan Greenspan (2004) The critical role of education in the nation's economy.
- When trust is lost, a nation's ability to transact business is palpably undermined.
- The Fabians laid the groundwork for modern social democracy, and their influence on the world would end up being at least as powerful as that of Marx.
- During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.
- Al Gore, in a statement often misquoted as "I invented the Internet." CNN Late Edition (9 March 1999).
- The secret to economic growth lay in the fact that that each generation attacked Nature not only with its own energies and resources, but with the heritage of equipment accumulated by its forebears.
- The history of economic growth is the history of people making more with less and shifting into new jobs that were unheard of in the previous generation.
- David R. Henderson, Hoover Daily Report, “The Case for a Dynamic Economy,” (22 September 2003).
- Hypocrisy, double standards, and "but nots" are the price of universalist pretensions. Democracy is promoted, but not if it brings Islamic fundamentalists to power; nonproliferation is preached for Iran and Iraq, but not for Israel; free trade is the elixir of economic growth, but not for agriculture; human rights are an issue for China, but not with Saudi Arabia; aggression against oil-owning Kuwaitis is massively repulsed, but not against non-oil-owning Bosnians. Double standards in practice are the unavoidable price of universal standards of principle.
- Samuel P. Huntington The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996) p. 184.
- 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.
- One of the reasons nations fail to address climate change is the belief that we can have infinite economic growth independent of ecosystem sustainability. Extreme weather events, melting arctic ice, and species extinction expose the lie that growth can forever be prioritized over planetary boundaries.
It wasn’t always this way. The fairytale of infinite growth—which so many today accept as unquestioned fact—is relatively recent. Economists have only begun to model never-ending growth over the last 75 years. Before that, they had ignored the topic for a century. And before that, they had believed in limits. If more people saw the idea of infinite growth as a departure from the history of economics rather than a timeless law of nature, perhaps they’d be readier to reimagine the links between the environment and the economy.
- Christopher F. Jones, "The Delusion and Danger of Infinite Economic Growth", in The New Republic, October 1, 2019.
- Both China and the United States are countries of significant influence in the world. We share important common strategic interests in a wide range of areas, including economic cooperation and trade, security, public health, energy, and environmental protection, and on major international and regional issues. In particular, mutually beneficial and win-win China-U.S. economic cooperation and trade benefit our two peoples and promote the economic growth in the Asia Pacific region and the world at large. Indeed, they have become an important foundation for China-U.S. relations.
- There are many economic puzzles, but there are only two really great mysteries.
One of these mysteries is why economic growth takes places at different rates over time and across countries. Nobody really knows why the U.S. economy could generate 3 percent annual productivity growth before 1973 but only 1 percent afterward, nobody really knows why Japan surged from defeat to global economic power after World War II, while Britain slid slowly into third-rate status. At any given time there are always policy entrepreneurs willing to claim that they have all the answers, but we'll come to that story in later chapters.
- Paul Krugman, Peddling Prosperity (1994), Ch. 1 : The Attack on Keynes
- The economic illusion is the belief that social justice is bad for economic growth.
- Robert Kuttner The Economic Illusion (1984) Introduction, p. 1 (First text line).
- I do not see how one can look at figures like these without seeing them representing possibilities. Is there some action a government of India could take that would lead the Indian economy to grow like Indonesia's or Egypt's? If so, what exactly? If not, what is it about the "nature of India" that makes it so? The consequences for human welfare involved in questions like these are simply staggering: once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else.
- Robert Lucas, Jr. "On the Mechanics of Economic Development." Journal of Monetary Economics. 22 July, 1988, pp. 5: On economic growth
M - R
- The laws of economics are subject to the laws of physics. The physical processes that govern this planet and the continued life upon it place as stringent an upper limit on economic growth as the speed of light does on our knowledge of the universe.
- Growth has costs as well as benefits, and we typically don't count the costs – among which are poverty and hunger, environmental destruction, and so on – the whole list of problems that we are trying to solve with growth! What is needed is much slower growth, very different kinds of growth, and in some cases no growth or negative growth. The world's leaders are correctly fixated on economic growth as the answer to virtually all problems, but they're pushing it with all their might in the wrong direction.
- The ideal situation for any state is to experience sharp economic growth while its rivals' economies grow slowly or hardly at all.
- If we could export more finished products instead of raw materials, we could become a middle-income country.
- We have achieved political freedom but our revolution is not yet complete and is still in progress, for political freedom without the assurance of the right to live and to pursue happiness, which economic progress alone can bring, can never satisfy a people. Therefore, our immediate task is to raise the living standards of our people, to remove all that comes in the way of the economic growth of the nation. We have tackled the major problem of India, as it is today the major problem of Asia, the agrarian problem. Much that was feudal in our system of land tenure is being changed so that the fruits of cultivation should go to the tiller of the soil and that he may be secure in the possession of the land he cultivates. In a country of which agriculture is still the principal industry, this reform is essential not only for the well-being and contentment of the individual but also for the stability of society. One of the main causes of social instability in many parts of the world, more especially in Asia, is agrarian discontent due to the continuance of systems of land tenure which are completely out of place in the modem world. Another — and one which is also true of the greater part of Asia and Africa — is the low standard of living of the masses.
- Jawaharlal Nehru Speech to the US Congress (13 October 1949).
- It is absolutely critical that we understand this is not just a challenge, it's an opportunity, because if we create a new energy economy, we can create five million new jobs, easily, here in the United States.
It can be an engine that drives us into the future the same way the computer was the engine for economic growth over the last couple of decades.
And we can do it, but we're going to have to make an investment. The same way the computer was originally invented by a bunch of government scientists who were trying to figure out, for defense purposes, how to communicate, we've got to understand that this is a national security issue, as well.
And that's why we've got to make some investments and I've called for investments in solar, wind, geothermal.
- Our combined endeavour should be to ensure that the rate of economic growth is sustained and it is socially inclusive; We must also ensure that every region of the country participates in and benefits from the process of economic growth.
- We have spoken on many occasions of the need to achieve high economic growth as an absolute priority for our country. The annual address for 2003 set for the first time the goal of doubling gross domestic product within a decade.
- In general dictators have not done better at [economic] policies than democrats—far from it. Most dictators have ravaged their countries for personal gain. Scholars have asked whether democracy helps or hurts the economic growth of poor countries and despite many surveys, have come to no conclusive answer.
- Adam Przeworski In: Fareed Zakaria (2007) The Future of Freedom. p. 251.
- Today we have economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive. What we need are economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow.
- Populists rarely mention these positive consequences, nor can they cogently explain how they would have sustained American economic growth and expansion of our political power without them.
- David Rockefeller Memoirs (2003) Ch. 27 : Proud Internationalist, p. 406.
- Development means a capacity for self-sustaining growth. It means that an economy must register advances which in turn will promote further progress. The loss of industry and skill in Africa was extremely small, if we measure it from the viewpoint of modern scientific achievements or even by standards of England in the late eighteenth century. However, it must be borne in mind that to be held back at one stage means that it is impossible to go on to a further stage. When a person was forced to leave school after only two years of primary school education, it is no reflection on him that he is academically and intellectually less developed than someone who had the opportunity to be schooled right through to university level. What Africa experienced in the early centuries of trade was precisely a loss of development opportunity, and this is of the greatest importance.
- Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1973), p. 105
S - Z
- Understanding how the agricultural revolution transformed human societies was once no more than a question of intellectual curiosity. Now, though, it has taken on a more practical and urgent aspect. Many of the challenges created by the agricultural revolution, such as the problem of scarcity, have largely been solved by technology – yet our preoccupation with hard work and unrestrained economic growth remains undimmed.
- James Suzman, “How Neolithic farming sowed the seeds of modern inequality 10,000 years ago”, The Guardian, (5 Dec, 2017).
- To those who clamor, as many now do, "Produce! Produce!" one simple question may be addressed:—"Produce what?" ... What can be more childish than to urge the necessity that productive power should be increased, if part of the productive power which exists already is misapplied? Is not less production of futilities as important as, indeed a condition of, more production of things of moment? ... Yet this result of inequality ... cannot be prevented, or checked, or even recognized by a society which excludes the idea of purpose from its social arrangements and industrial activity.
- R. H. Tawney, The Acquisitive Society (1920), p. 39
- A year ago this time, the third quarter figure for 2012... we were talking about negative growth of more than 3%.
- Tomohiko Taniguchi, Japan's councillor of the cabinet secretariat, quoted on BBC News, "Japan's economic growth slows down", 14 November 2013.
- People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you! Fore more than thirty years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away, and come here saying that you are doing enough.
- Few will doubt that humankind has created a planet-sized problem for itself. No one wished it so, but we are [not] the first species to become a geophysical force, altering Earth's climate, a role previously [known to be] reserved for tectonics, sun flares, and glacial cycles. [But] We are also the greatest destroyer of life since the ten-kilometer-wide meteorite that landed near Yucatan and ended the Age of Reptiles sixty-five million years ago. Through overpopulation we have put ourselves in danger of running out of food and water. So a very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic.
- Today, the grandeur of a country is measured by the extent to which it defends and extends its citizens' rights through its impulse towards total equality, by its capacity to create energy that contributes towards cultural, social and economic growth. That is how a country becomes strong, by making its citizens more powerful.