What is Growth?

What is growth? We always hear politicians talking about how we need to “grow the economy.” What does this mean? What is wrong with just staying the same? How do we measure growth?

To help you with your investigation, here are three links:
1. Jeff Rubin’s article on how Denmark consumes resources
2. The World Happiness Report
3. Statistics Canada – Do a search for GDP. What is GDP? What is taken into consideration?

Is there a better way, based on what you have read, to assess a country’s health?

21 thoughts on “What is Growth?

  1. Right now, it seems like growth is taking, trading,and consuming more resources then we need.I think that when politicians say that they need to "grow the economy", they mean to further expand trade, and to extract, distribute and consume more resources. They believe that this is how they could get a wealthy and running economy, through people constantly buying, selling, trading and trashing things before repeating the cycle. I don't believe it would damage the society to just stay the same. However, the government believes that a wealthier country equals a happier country, and that it's good to always improve.I don't believe this is necessarily true to say,Denver is a good example that happiness does not necessarily come from wealth and economy.Also, as we spend and consume we are further pushing the sustainable economy away from our reach, and as we know, the world is not infinite when it comes to the resources. So by being greedy and trying to get more then we need, we are really only taking away the resources we need to sustain. I believe that we should measure growth according to how sustainable our economy is, because the more sustainable we are, the longer our resources will survive and the longer the world would survive. A country that can sustain itself longer is higher in growth then a country that is unsustainable and consumes in unnecessarily amounts, all the while killing our planet and claiming it's for our benefit.

  2. "Economic growth" is a term that describes the continued need for consumption of more resources and more energy. In our world today,we are already consuming a surplus amount of resources. With each passing year our resource consumption increases greatly. As our consumption of non-renewable resources continues to increase, we must then come to ask ourselves- how much more can we consume before there is nothing left?Often times, politicians talk about how we need to "grow the economy". Growing the economy basically means furthering our consumption of energy and resources. Politicians often use this phrase when thinking in terms of growing in power and in terms of money increase. The problem that the government finds with staying at the same economic level is that it has no income promises for the future of the country. We are constantly being encouraged to consume resources in our daily lives through advertisements and commercials. What's worse, however, is that after non-renewable resources have been used, we are then encouraged to upgrade on our technology, clothing, etc. This leaves many valuable resources, such as metal, to be wasted without reason. I think that the growth of a country is measured by the amount of financial and political power that a country possesses. Most politicians find that the only path to power is through economic growth, or consumption of resources.What many people do not realize, or potentially care to fix, is the fact that we can't sustain enough resources to last us forever. We could run into many problems in the future if we do not take action to preserve our resources for future generations.

  3. When politicians say "Growth to the economy" it means one thing. It means when people upgrade their wealth or consumption. When people make more money this is good for the economy. When people are able to make more money, it enables them to consume more. When people consume more it gives the government more money. When people consume more it makes more waste. This gives the government the ability to put more money into incinerator factories. This pollutes a terrible amount of toxic fumes in to the atmosphere. The Danes, have a great idea on renewing energy. They have tons on wind turbines that are over one hundred meters high. The use of wind turbines causes an unbelievably efficient source of energy. Another reason the Danes have cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 13 percent in the last twenty years while the North American emission have rose by thirty percent in the last two decades.The Danes however, use coal as a main energy source as oppose to oil or gas. The Danes also pay a significant amount more than the North Americans. The reason for the Danes having such great efficiency is they do not consume a lot of resources. They cannot consume a lot if electricity with the outrageous price of it there! The reason the economy cannot stay at the same level is because if it does, the government loses money. If they lose money the prices on everything goes up. If the prices on gas go up, people will still have to pay for it. If people pay so much for gas it gives them less money to consume. If people consume less, the economy goes down, not up! So if people don't consume, the government loses money and prices on natural resources go up. They can it the prices on gas up because everyone needs them.

  4. My solution: Everyone can fly to Jupiter! Kidding, that's not a great plan at all. Anyways, so pretty much I've noticed that the previous commenters have been saying that we don't need to consume so much, that we need to step, ect. I agree with this, however what I think that they're dancing around is the real solution. We can't simply all stop consuming. It only takes a small faction of the population to stop that, and with people realizing that, they wouldn't stop. Thus, we'd be trapped in a cycle, meaning that wouldn't work. Another proposed solution that I've seen, is to essentially let the prices of oil rise. Now, this might work, however this won't work for a lot of resources. In addition to this, lots of people would suffer as the situation gets worse. My real solution however, is to, over time, change the structures in which we design things. I don't mean fashion or art or anything, but rather our infrastructure. For example, many places in the world have everything spread out. You'd have a grocery store in one place, then a clothing store four miles away, then another two miles away, along with a video game store five miles away. This would not work. Why, you might ask? Well, because it wouldn't allow for a good use of public transportation. If we have our houses in one area, and stores in another, people could take a bus all the way over to the "other side", in which they could shop. Not only would this lower the distance in which people go, but it would lower the gas usage. Now of course, you're probably thinking "Not all we do is shop!", or "What about hockey games where we need to bring big bags?". Not only shopping stuff would be located in this one area, per se. Rather, a collection of places in which people would go to on a regular basis. Essentially, the only changes would be that houses weren't as spread around, while making all else closer. By doing this, people would simply go to the place they needed to, and walk or bike a little bit, instead of having to go from place to place using a car and lots of oil. This would do three main things: Improve our sustainability, help the environment, and lower the cost of life. We can see that it will improve out sustainability as a country/world. By using less gas, we would be given a longer time in order to find an alternative and find a carbon/water based fuel instead. We would be able to use these resources longer too. It would help the environment by polluting less, or at least over a longer period of time. If we continue to pollute so much, we will ruin the earth. Plain and simple. And finally, by doing this, we would let Canadians (or whoever) live on a cheaper budget. We know that in this day and age people are pretty much obliged to use lots of gas to get around. We live in a society where things are spread out, and that public transportation isn't as great as it could. By fixing the issue with public transportation, we would allow people to spend less on transportation by a lot, thus allowing them a little bit more money to spend freely, or simply to have for safe keeping. With all that being said, I propose that my solution would work if we make these changes over time as we continue to build more infrastructure and civilization across the world. – Connor, awaiting more posts and responses

  5. The term “Economic growth” refers to the increase in the amount of the goods and services produced by an economy over time. It is the study of how countries can advance their economies. The term “Economy” refers to the wealth and resources of a country or region, especially the production and consumption of goods and services. When politicians say, we need to “grow the economy” the message they are trying to convey is that they want the economy to expand and develop wealth and resources through production and consumption of goods and services. Thus, the citizens will improve their lifestyle and enjoy a higher quality of life because they will have more opportunities for jobs to make more money. On the other hand, if we stay the same and not grow, we will not develop and improve as an economy. For example, if we don’t continue to develop in areas such as technology, we will be stagnant. It is crucial for an economy to stay up to date and be aware of current trends; otherwise, the economy may fall behind. Growth is measured as the percent rate of increase in real gross domestic product, or real GDP. In conclusion, economic growth is major topic, in every economy, that should always be taken into consideration when it comes to politics.

  6. I think right now, to grow the economy means to expand our distribution of resources. In order to do this, it means we will have to find and extract more resources, so we have more resources to consume. If we continue to consume the huge amount of resources we are currently consuming now, the world will eventually no longer be able to sustain itself. By staying the same, and consuming the same amount of resources (most are not eco friendly) we are creating a huge problem. For example, if we keep using tons and tons of oil everyday, the prices will skyrocket and nobody will be able to afford it. This will of course cause us to stop using so much oil. I, as I’m sure many others in the world would not want that. During my generation it would be a nice luxury if we could afford oil. If we continue to consume all of these resources, the result will also be very bad in terms of the environment. All these gas emissions and garbage going into our earth will have very bad effects. The temperature of the earth will continue to increase, and as I said before, the earth will no longer be able to sustain itself. We measure our growth in terms of how many resources we use and extract. We measure this using GDP. It is good to grow the economy, however if we were to take a turn and start using eco friendly resources instead of the bad ones we are using now, the economy and the world would stand a greater chance in lasting longer and not elapsing. Once we start using more eco friendly resources, the world in terms of the environment and economy will be a much better place, because we as well as the earth will be able to sustain ourselves longer.

  7. Growth is a term referring to how successful a country’s improving based on statistics such as gdp, adult literacy, etc. However besides all these statistics the most important one is the economy. Its crucial that the economy grows in order for a country to increase its growth. Another important term is GDP which is important to a country’s economy as well as the growth. These topics will be discussed later on.What is growth? Growth can mean many things such as height but in these terms it means the development of a country. How much education a person receives, how much money people have, how much health care they receive are all key factors in a country’s growth. If a country is improving in these factors, a country is increasing its growth. For example Canada’s GDP has increased by over a trillion dollars in the last 50 years. Therefore Canada has increased its growth. Another major factor that has to do with growth is the economy. Often people think economy means moeney however economy is a term referring to the distribution of resources. However based on the distribution of resources a country can grow its economy and theoretically make moeney. Canada is a consumer economy just like most countries around the world. What this means is that the way Canada and most countries run their economy is that they distribute and exchange resources and dump the waste. For example to buy a shoe from Nike a number of steps have to take place. First, the company/firm has to buy rubber from the resource market. Once Nike has the resource, they will produce shoes and sell the shoes to the market (shops). At these shops, people will buy these shoes and pay moeney in exchange. Once the shoes are used/ruined they are often thrown out. What the problem is with this kind of economy is that once people are done with the resource they’ll throw it out. We hear politicians saying we need to “grow the economy”. This means that the moeney distributed between these resources must increase. For example, in Canada our economy is high as we buy and exchange important resources at a large rate. When we buy Nike shoes, firms are buying many resources, making shoes and selling shoes. It’s a booming market. In countries such as Nigeria, the distribution of resources if very slim. People can only buy basic needs because the moeney being exchanged between the firms, market, and families is very low. Often it is bad that economies stay the same. This is because if the economies stay the same, the growth of a country would be stunted because as stated earlier, the economy of a country is a huge factor in the growth of a country. GDP stands for gross domestic product. It means all the accumulated wealth of every person in a country. For example, Canada’s gdp is around 1.8 trillion dollars. What this means is that if you add up all the money each person makes in Canada, it will accumulate to 1.8 trillion dollars.Reading the blog comments, I liked what Hannah said. She said “grow the economy means to expand our distribution of resources”. This is important because often people get the misconception that growing our economy is earning more moeney. However as Hannah stated, growing the economy means to expand our distribution of resources.In conclusion growth means the development of a country. This is determined based on many factors. One important factor is the economy. Economy means the distribution of resources. GDP is also another factor and it means the accumulated wealth of a country. In conclusion both GDP and economy play significant roles in determining a country’s economy.

  8. I think growth in terms of the economy revers to the trading, consuming and extraction of resources. When we hear that people want to “grow the economy” that means they want to basically consume more, trade more etc. To “grow the economy” people would have to continue buying, selling and throwing out things and repeating the cycle. I don’t see what the problem is to leave the economy the way it is. I don’t really know as much about this than I’d like to. I’m sorry this is so short but I can’t think of a better way to measure a country’s happiness.

  9. growth in the economy. Everywhere we look there are posters and advertisement telling us to consume more resources. The growth if a country's economy is based on how much income and political standpoint the country has. If a country has a fair amount of income they can generate a lot more. If the country also has a strong political standpoint they can go very far.There are many issues with this whole idea of consume as much as possible. A lot of people don't realize that there isn't going to be enough resources to last forever. Many resources will run out.

  10. Countries around the world rely on growth to keep their country moving forward. We always hear politicians talk about how we need to “grow the economy”, but what does this mean? Countries are made up of many industries and businesses. Each of these produces items or services which, when sold, make money. When all of these “outputs” are added together, the result is a country’s gross domestic product, or GDP. A country that is doing well will have low unemployment, increasing wages, and a growing GDP. As a country’s population increases, it is extremely important that its GDP also increases to supports the needs and wants of its citizens. Everyone wants a good standard of living, and they want that standard of living to improve year after year. If the economy doesn’t grow to support this, then people will become less and less satisfied, and less happy.Not all countries grow at the same rate. Countries that are just starting to grow their economies often grow at a faster rate than more established and mature countries. China’s economy, for example, is growing at a rate of approximately 8% per year. For China, this is important because its population is so large and is growing. Also, the expectations of the Chinese people are increasing quickly, which means they require more and more to remain satisfied. Millions of Chinese who have worked on farms are now moving to cities to find higher paying jobs and better lives. The economy must grow to support this.Even countries with growing GDP numbers have their challenges. A country’s health should not only be measured by economic factors. Even though a country like China has growing GDP numbers, not everyone is happy. Many Chinese live in poor living environments, and do not have access to social services like we do. Further, China is not a democracy, and peoples’ human rights are not always respected. While it is difficult to measure how these challenges impact a country and its citizens, some basic research, such as that outlined in the Happiness Report, is useful.

  11. In my opinion, the phrase Economic Growth means the improvement or the increase of the products that we consume and distribute from the economy. Growth means to make something better, take it to a higher step. We grow the economy by getting more resources and trading it off for more that we have not yet obtained, and getting a benefit for one’s country. But in order to sustain our economy from collapsing, we need to consume less products that are non-reusable and start gaining the knowledge that we need to consume less and if we keep on consuming like today, you won’t even know that the amount of resources were limited. Then we will have nothing left. So the solution to sustaining the economy will be to make fair trades and bringing ourselves back from all the consuming.What is wrong with staying the same? Well, if it stays the same, the people who are consuming more than the limit, will have demands to bring out more supplies and we lose more and more resources. If the prices go up, demands will decrease. Also if the price increases, the supplies increase too because the price is too high for someone to buy it. If we stay the same, nothing will improve expect for the demand of resources and the exceeding amount of supplies. To measure our economic growth, we use graphs and charts to see if the economy has grown over the years or staying the same or has decreased. They measure growth my GDP which stands for Gross Domestic Product. For example, China from 1990-1998, their GDP growth was about to 128% range, but 1990-2006, their growth has exploded up to approximately 330%! That is some extreme economic growth happening and they are still increasing. In conclusion, this explained (not very well) the meaning of growth, growing the economy, the problems to our economy at equilibrium, and finally how we measure growth.

  12. As an economy we are expected to consume more and more resources. As a country we have all come together to try to figure out a system that works for all of us. It has been complicated and there are still steps that we need to work through to become for sustainable. Politicians believe that if we consume more, continue to trade and find more resources that our economy will grow. Which is true but by doing this we also continue to consume more causing more waste to occur. We live off of this cycle where politicians came up with a concept that we will become more wealthier and have a more continuous economy. Although consuming more is a great thing, we are causing more problems in this world. If we were to stay the same and continue the way we are processing right now we may gain wealth but is wealth what truly makes us happy? We are continuing to harm our planet by consuming resources and turning them into waste. Is measuring our growth a good thing? I think it is! We need to follow up and prepare ourselves for how sustainable our economy really is. The more sustainable we are the longer our resources will survive and the longer the world would survive. Our economy seems to be up to date and organized but there is always time for improvements. Thank you!

  13. Many different people have many different interpretations of what economic growth really is. To me I agree with Maxine that it refers to the trading, consuming and extraction of resources, though I do not agree with Malcolm when he said it means when people upgrade their wealth or consumption.If we as a society do not grow our economy then we will not progress in any ways. SO keep our learning going we have to grow our economy.A solution to the economic problem that we have limited resources, but unlimited wants is not as simple as many people think it is. We do know that this “G” shaped system we have going on right now is not the way we will progress, as we know we need an “O” shaped system.

  14. Growth is a thing that all nations possess, but a main problem to the thing that they possess is that they have the very potential to lose it, mainly due to the problem of scarcity. When we look at Canada, for example, we see it is making much progress within the last 10 years, but is beginning to fall onto a slower path consequently a result of scarcity. People are using up too many products before they can be replenished, there are too many wants and needs and this is overall resulting in a very large problem, running out of stuff. So what do we do? On a perspective of people in school still, many would agree with the idea of consuming less, which is a good idea. When we take a look at Denmark, perhaps, they significantly use far less than the average Canadian does, because the regulations within Denmark basically force them to use less through taxes. For electricity, the average Danish would have to pay 30 cents per kilowatt, whereas we here, all happy in Canada, would have to only pay around 3 cents per kilowatt. Now looking at the World Happy Report, Denmark came first on the list, proving that they are happy using far less than the average person in Canada would. Now from looking at Denmark, other people from other countries can compare and contrast. Seeing how much electricity is and how much we use of it, it is obviously shown that we don’t need to use as much, that over average is not the best thing and that looking going small is a good path to go on. We see that the Danish are still happy with using less energy, and this can be the same with us Canadians too. Although it might cause some grief with the people and government with this idea, that is if it were ever to come into terms, it would significantly benefit our society and promote the great idea of sustainability. Most people would agree that sustainability can lead to a better world as a whole, not for this generation, but for the future ones as well and all of us would acknowledge that the future generation should live in prosperity like us, not in a world of nothing.

  15. Growth is the amount of goods a country produces over time. It is also how much the population grows over time. Growth provides a sustained ability to give people jobs and opportunity’s to live in the economy. This allows Canadians to purchase homes and educate their children so that they are able to participate in the economy. When we buy goods from stores it enables them to continue to sell, to buy, and to trade. This will help our economy grow. Growth is good because it allows the economy to expand and get bigger. We need to consume more in order for the economy to grow.When we her politicians talking about how we need to “grow the economy,” they are saying that we need to create more jobs, in order that people can enjoy a decent standard of living.As a society, we must continue to grow because if not, we will be unable to produce jobs and young people will be forced to leave in order to find employment elsewhere. We can measure growth by income and loss, by how many jobs are being created and by the amount of goods and services people are purchasing.Thank you!By Hannah Foran

  16. Economic Growth is making more money, consuming more and also growing and producing more resources. When Politicians say that we need to expand and grow our economy this means to first make more money and second spend it on more things to consume and third continue to reproduce the resources we already have. What everybody does not understand about all of this is that if we continue to do all those things we will soon run out of resources and then the big question after that is “What Know”!

  17. As many others have said, when politicians talk about “economic growth”, what they really mean is probably something along the lines of getting more resources to consume and consuming more resources. This plan is not necessarily a bad thing. If our resources were not limited.There is nothing technically wrong with staying the same, but as humans, we are always wanting to consume more. Buying new things is awesome. We think to ourselves, “The new iPhone came out the other day. I need that. I want a new laptop. The TV is too small. Some new furniture from IKEA would be lovely. I need more things! More!” Our economy is measured by our need and consumption of these resources, as well as our wealth. After all, consumption is happiness, right? …Or is it? While the countries that ranked highest in the World Happiness Report all had fairly good economies, that is not everything. Taking Denmark as an example, the people living there also consume considerably less than people living in North America. Consuming can’t be all that matters in terms of happiness and “economic growth”.So how does one measure the growth of an economy? How should one measure growth? A classmate of mine, Vanessa, proposed an idea that I agree with: we should measure growth according to how sustainable our economy is, because the more sustainable we are, the longer our resources will survive and the longer the world would survive. In fact, maybe we should not measure the growth of our economy, but how healthy it is. A good economy does not have to be one that is constantly consuming and “growing”.

  18. @Kaetan, though it should always be considered in political affairs and elections (or else the candidate won't win), should that be? Is it actually beneficial for politicians to be forced to talk about this? Is it actually benefiting us, or is it simply a facade to cover up the truth? Seems like it's talked about too much! @Vanessa and Jennifer, I agree 100%! Just because we're good off now, what's stopping us from crashing in a year or so? With sustainable resources, we're well off for a longer period of time. @Everyone going "We need to grow the economy". Though I understand that we kind've need to, the only reason we'd actually need to GROW the economy (as opposed to sustaining and maintaining a healthy one), is due to our rise in population. Thus, if we're able to lower our population, or maintain and sustain a healthy one, then there would be no need to actually GROW the economy. This would be better for us financially and for the world environmentally, as having more people means more resources used up, and more resources used up also does damage to the Earth (as a general rule). Therefore, we can see that if we continue to increase in population, we could damage the Earth permanently. Anyways, just to add on. I also think that we should value digital products more. They don't take up nearly as much resources, if, of course, electricity is being produced an efficient way (such as hydro, wind and solar power, if done correctly). I'm not 100% how, or is this would actually work, but I feel as if it should be something that consumers should look into.

  19. What is growth?I believe when a politician says tat they want there to be economic growth, it means that they want to to sell more products. The problem with this is that to sell more products companies have to take resources found in the country or bring in resources from other countries. Since it probably costs more to bring in resources from other countries, politicians are moe likely saying that they want to use the countries resources. The problem with this (as many other people have said) is, that resources are limited. With limited resources we are sure to run out and with companies trying to sel more, they may or may not make there products last less time. if companies do this then all the resources are thrown out. The problem with this is that these resources are no longer able to be put back into the environment. This just causes a lot of pollution. Because of this, I believe that growth should be getting used to a simpler and less consuming society.

  20. When politicians say that they need to grow the economy, they are saying that they have to increase the amount of goods that the country is producing. Countries can generate more resources when they have a better economy. We can’t just stay the same because people always want more and think that they will be better if there is more, but maybe for economic growth, it is ok to stay the same. I think it is good to stay the same because then we wont run out of resources as quickly. Everyone is bound to run out of resources eventually, but why not make them last longer. GDP is gross domestic product. I think economic health is a good way to judge countries health.

  21. Currently the word growth means the consumption, trading, and taking more natural resources that is necessary.What I think politicians mean by “we need to grow the economy” is that we need to consume our natural resources more. So there is more junk for us the consumers to purchase, thusly giving the government more money to extract our resources more! This is a vicious cycle that needs to come to an end. With the government keep extracting, the factories keep producing, us keep consuming, and finally us throwing away our useless junk. Firstly, it will not take much longer for us to run out of natural resources to extract. Secondly the factories that produce our purchasing items put harmful chemicals into the waterways and into the air. This is not only harmful to us, it is also harmful to the animals and most importantly the world we live in. Lastly, by us just throwing away our junk an it going into landfills or the incinerator is also polluting our earth. This cycle that we live in is killing us and killing our earth

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