Welcome to In Praise of Progress by me, Ville Vesterinen.
This is where I explore the importance and the wonder of progress and economic growth. I talk with individuals who have a vision of a world they see that the rest of us yet can't. Individuals who are tirelessly working on the wild inventions, ventures and institutions that our prosperity depends on be it in science, business, policy or arts.
My hope is that readers and listeners will find inspiration, a new-found understanding of the importance growth and most importantly an excitement fuelled urgency to get going.
Why Growth Matters
It's worth repeating how important long term economic growth is. Economic growth is what will ultimately lift everyone's quality of life. Conversely we'll all be hosed if the economic growth slows down significantly and the technology driven growth in our living standards during the past 200 years turns out to be the exception rather than the rule.
More science, engineering and arts combined with the relentless creative human spirit is the way forward in a world where technology is making repetitive work redundant while at the same time our planetary boundaries are being stretched to a breaking point. We should not wait to get going. If we loose hope along with our jobs we are flirting with a revolution which our democracy may not survive as we hope it would. Fortunately the opposite is equally true. If we find a common thread where we can contribute and work together towards an inspiring future, everything is possible.
Economic growth gives life to many wonderful things. A sense of shared direction, creative expression, entrepreneurship, a functioning democracy. Advancement of science, art, hope, peace and excitement for the future. It lifts societies and can be a lifechanger for individuals who get to be part of it. Growth is a close friend of progress and the ultimate enabler.
It’s true that if not managed properly economic growth and markets can easily get a bad rep because of the potential for large economic inequalities and market failures like polluting the environment. These are both important issues that we need to collectively figure out – and I believe we will – but the distribution of wealth and the pricing of negative externalities should not cloud the importance of economic growth itself. Quite the contrary. Economic growth makes all the solutions possible.