I’ve been saying for some years on the Internet that, because the supply of uniquely new personal status goods has dried up in the advanced countries, then economic growth as we have known it, has largely come to an end.
About two years ago, and from a much more influential voice than mine, the world of economists was intrigued, if not shocked, when Larry Summers, an ex-chief economic adviser to Obama, spoke of the possibility of “secular stagnation”.
Does this mean that economic ‘progress’ will come to an end? Not if you redefine it slightly, and change the word to ‘process’ — because scientific research will be continuing none the less. Using synthetic DNA and algorithms, all sorts of recondite carbon-based new materials and efficient production methods will be developed. We can design new highly efficient infrastructures that don’t compete with, subtract from, or pollute the natural environment.