Will the rich world ever return to the high economic growth rates of the pre financial-crisis era? My answer is no, for the reasons given below. That is bad news for those who rely on GDP growth for increased prosperity and profit. But it is good news for those who worry about global resource shortages. A slow-growing world economy will consume less resources and give technology more time to evolve resource-efficient solutions. The human ecological footprint will remain lighter. The planet will fare better.
Over the last forty years world GDP has grown by an average 3.5% per year. This growth can be seen as a combination of growth in a) the labour force and b) labour productivity. Since 1970 both have grown: the population by 1,5 % per year, and productivity by 2 % per year, when measured as annual output per person between 15 and 65 years of age.