Can de-growth be considered a policy option? A historical note on Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and the Club of Rome
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: Can de-growth be considered a policy option? A historical note on Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and the Club of Rome
Abstract : At a few months' interval, Georgescu-Roegen's The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (1971) and Club of
Rome's 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 team of authors of Limits
to Growth. 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.
: Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, History of ecological economics, De-growth, Club of Rome
: History of economic thought
||Rotterdam School of Management|
: Ecological Economics
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