Social Limits to Growth
By Fred Hirsch
Introduction by Tibor Scitovsky
Routledge – 1978 – 232 pages
The promise of economic growth which has dominated society for so long has reached an impasse. In his classic analysis, Fred Hirsch argued that the causes of this were essentially social rather than physical. Affluence brings its own problems. As societies become richer, an increasing proportion of the extra goods and services created are not available to everybody. Material affluence does not make for a better society.
Fred Hirsch's classic exposition of the social limits to growth manages to connect many of the apparently disparate factors that blight modern life: alienation at work and deteriorating cities as well as inflation and unemployment.
Forward by Tibor Scitovsky. 1. Introduction Part I. The Neglected Realm of Social Scarcity 2. A Duality in the Growth Potential 3. The Material Economy and the Positional Economy 4. The Ambiguity of Economic Output Part II. The Commercialization Bias 5. The Economics of Bad Neighbours 6. The New Commodity Fetishism 7. A First Summary: The Hole in the Affluent Society Part III. The Depleting Moral Legacy 8. An Overload on the Mixed Economy 9. Political Keynesianism and the Managed Market 10. The Moral Re-entry 11. The Lost Legitimacy and the Distributional Compulsion Part IV. Perspective and Conclusions 12. The Liberal Market as a Transition Case 13. Inferences for Policy
Fred Hirsch was formerly Professor of International studies at the University of Warwick, UK. He died in 1978.