Sustainable growth model city Amir Jina/Flickr

Le casse-tête de la croissance

BERKELEY – Le monde est confronté à un dilemme majeur. Si une croissance économique rapide, comme celle des 50 dernières années, est essentielle au développement, nous savons aussi aujourd’hui qu’elle peut avoir des conséquences néfastes, en particulier pour l’environnement. Comment pouvons-nous équilibrer les impératifs de la croissance et du développement avec la nécessité de garantir la durabilité ?

La croissance sans précédent du revenu par habitant au cours des vingt dernières années a sorti plus d’un milliard de personnes de l’extrême pauvreté. Dans les pays en développement, l’espérance de vie a augmenté de 20 ans depuis le milieu des années 1970 et le taux d’analphabétisme des adultes a été réduit de moitié environ ces 30 dernières années.

Mais cette croissance économique rapide a exercé d’énormes pressions sur l’environnement. Elle a de plus été accompagnée d’inégalités croissantes des revenus qui ont aujourd’hui atteint des niveaux historiques dans plusieurs pays (même si entre les pays mêmes, ces inégalités se sont atténuées). Dans ce contexte, l’on pourrait défendre l’idée qu’une croissance plus lente serait bénéfique pour le monde.

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