Capitalist Development and the Growth Paradigm



This chapter traces the relationship between the emergence of the current growth paradigm and the development of capitalism. It argues that economic growth is a fairly recent phenomenon which is inherently linked to the emergence of capitalism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It argues that economic growth in capitalism is inevitable, since this economic system is oriented towards unlimited and short-term valorisation, quantitative and geographic expansion, circularity and reversibility. This monetary or “exchange value” aspect of the capitalist economy is in later chapters contrasted with the principles that guide the ecological system (the “use-value” aspect), involving stable and sustainable matter and energy transformations and throughputs as well as irreversibility.


Capitalism Growth Profit motive Stagnation 


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Lund UniversityLundSweden

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