Can De-Growth Be Considered a Policy Option? A Historical Note on Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and the Club of Rome

C Levallois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

At a few months' interval, Georgescu-Roegen's The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (1971) and Meadows et al. Limits to Growth (1972) were published. Both emphasized the dangers of economic growth, and both drew negative reactions from mainstream economists. Relying on archival evidence, we show that Georgescu-Roegen and the Club of Rome developed strategies of mutual support, which would present them at first view as natural allies. Georgescu-Roegen actually became a member of the Club of Rome, while Dennis Meadows acknowledged the influence of Georgescu-Roegen's ideas on the founding members of the Club. But in the late 70's, the gap widened between Georgescu-Roegen's adamant defense of de-growth, and the Club of Rome's less firm view of "sustainable growth." This paper explores the process leading to the self-isolation of Georgescu-Roegen, by showing that beyond a shared acknowledgment that economic and biologic systems were interdependent, technological optimism and ambitions for the global management of growth were central to the Club of Rome, while Georgescu-Roegen¿s personal history led him to ignore those practicalities and judge that de-growth was inescapable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2271-2278
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Economics
Volume69
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Keywords: Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen; history of ecological economics; de-growth, Club of Rome

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