Rethinking Growth

7 September 2017

Compass with Welsh economy concept

Current models of growth in Wales are unsustainable and economic policy needs to be rethought to create a more distributive and efficient model, two Cardiff University academics argue in a new paper.

In Rethinking Growth: Toward the Well-being Economy, Dr Mark Lang and Professor Terry Marsden of the University’s Sustainable Places Research Institute, explore the growing academic and policy discussion about the economic, social, environmental and cultural desirability of economic growth.

They suggest that growth as pursued by policy-makers has tended to be ‘extractive’ and unsustainable. Instead, they argue for a form of socially and ecologically positive growth, which might have beneficial impacts in particular communities.

Dr Mark Lang said: “In Wales there is an important opportunity to consider these issues, as Welsh Government’s recent legislation the Well-being of Future Generations Act has placed a sustainable development obligation on all devolved public bodies...”

“We need to consider alternative approaches to measuring success and the likely policy impact of well-being legislation, particularly in economic policy-making.”

Mark Lang, Honorary University Associate

Intelligent, efficient, sustainable and place-based

Calling for the effective implementation of this ground-breaking legislation, they argue that if Welsh Government is to successfully safeguard the well-being of future generations, as its own legislation requires, it needs to fully enact this legislation within its economic policy.

Dr Lang, added: “Currently applied models of growth are both inefficient and unsustainable, as they are dependent on finite natural and human resources. They have led to inequalities that produce unaffordable costs. Well-being, rather than growth, should be the main criteria of success. Where it is pursued, growth should contribute to well-being, it should be intelligent, efficient, sustainable and place-based”.

Dr Lang and Professor Marsden will deliver an evening seminar Rethinking Growth: Toward the Well-being Economy on Monday 18th September from 5:30pm – 7pm. To hear more about their work register here.