Rethinking Economics

From GNP Growth to Ecological Sustainability
  • Peter Söderbaum
Part of the Recent Economic Thought book series (RETH, volume 36)


For a long time Gross National Product (GNP) growth has been regarded as the main idea of progress in Western societies. The GNP is seen as an indicator of the resources available for various purposes in a country. As an example Walter Heller, adviser to the president in the United States in the 1960s, made the judgement that “it will be hard enough to fight the wars on poverty, discrimination, and pollution even with vigorous economicgrowth” (Heller, 1972, p. 11). This idea of GNP as the main indicator, and of “economic growth” as a necessary part of progress, has been disseminated to all parts of the world. Countries are evaluated with respect to the level of GNP per capita and the rate of “economic growth.” To facilitatemeasurements of this kind, systems of national accounting are now used in a large number of countries.


Evolutionary Approach Institutional Economic Ecological Economic Neoclassical Economic Gross National Product 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Söderbaum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsThe Swedish University of Agricultural ScienceUppsalaSweden

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