If something doesn't make you happy, it's better to stop doing it, especially if the collateral damage is large. No, this article isn't about bad relationships, it's about economic growth, because that's what the above reasoning is often applied to. So should we stop economic growth?
Of course, economic growth still has fans. Especially if it's high and politicians want to pat themselves on the back. However, economic growth has also been criticized. As Bobby Kennedy pointed out more than half a century ago, gross domestic product (GDP) doesn't measure the things that make life worth living. Examples are the health of our children, the beauty of our poetry or the integrity of our administrators. Also, issues such as environmental damage and resource depletion are not properly taken into account.
So it's an imperfect measure. But then again, the score on the scoreboard doesn't always reflect how well – or badly – my football club has played. Is that a problem? Well, it is if you apply the credo of what gets measured, gets managed. If the game's good, but the results aren't forthcoming, the trainer will be fired. By the same reasoning, a politician without economic growth can say goodbye to his job. He or she will therefore want to pursue a growth-promoting policy.
What are the consequences if we continue that line of arguing? Ugly and boring football that's focused on results. In the case of football, the damage is limited to dozing off before the final whistle. Economic scoreboard policy could do more harm. "Economic growth is a monster that is exhausting the earth and claiming human lives," someone said in a newspaper interview last week. With the recommendation to take a step back, say, 'to stop growing'.