Alternatives to Economic Growth: A Collaboration with St. Gallen

Growth was at the forefront of the 2016 St. Gallen Symposium  - an annual gathering of global leaders in Switzerland. Some 800 present and future leaders debated, "Growth: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," from May 11-13, 2016 in St. Gallen, Switzerland. 

The question “What are Alternatives to Economic Growth?” was posed as a topic for the symposium's annual essay competition. The six essay competition finalists were brought together with research fellows of Harvard University’s Center for International Development (CID) to analyze, elaborate, and stress-test some of the ideas.

Four major themes emerged from their analysis:

  • the need to contextualize any discussion of economic growth
  • new models of consumption may reduce the importance of growth in developed markets
  • the rising level of inequality in many countries is a major concern
  • the digitalization trend is changing what growth means

Overall, the authors conclude that the nature of economic growth as we know it is changing and these changes present governments and their citizens with an unprecedented set of opportunities and challenges.

To read more about their findings, download the:

CID Research Fellows and St. Gallen Symposium essay finalists during their working session at Harvard Kennedy School on July 25, 2016.