Too Important to be Left to Economists (or politicians)
Better understanding of and then the rethinking of growth is thus no academic exercise. It is necessary if our country and the values we most admire are to endure and prosper. And it is necessary if we are to do well in our own personal “pursuit of happiness.”
We cannot afford to leave rethinking growth to either economists or politicians.
Economists are unsure of themselves. Some people call their profession a “science” (a Nobel Prize, for example, is given in “Economic Sciences”), yet economists offer, with great certainty, contradictory explanations about how and why growth occurs; they even call each other’s firmly held beliefs “fairy tales.” Many of these “experts” have carried the discussion about as far as they can; they now are often talking (and not always listening) to each other in a cycle that gets repeatedly repetitious.
And politicians (and public officials) across the entire spectrum have abused “growth,” claiming that whatever policy or ideology they advocate is the best way to achieve it.
Virtually all types of authority figures, moreover, have been transforming–perhaps without realizing it–growth into a cliché, claiming it is necessary for virtually every public policy goal; while textbooks now teach that “growthmanship”–ability to promote “growth”–is among skills most needed by our leaders.
We can’t rely on experts, which means we must take ownership of “economic growth.”