Global growth is slowing – especially in advanced-technology economies. This column argues that regardless of cyclical trends, long-term economic growth may grind to a halt. Two and a half centuries of rising per-capita incomes could well turn out to be a unique episode in human history.
It is time to raise basic questions about the process of economic growth, especially the assumption – nearly universal since Solow’s seminal contributions of the 1950s (Solow 1956) – that economic growth is a continuous process that will persist forever.There was virtually no growth before 1750;There is no guarantee that growth will continue indefinitely.
This column introduces my CEPR Policy Insight, which argues in detail that the rapid progress made over the past 250 years could well turn out to be a unique episode in human history (Gordon 2012).