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The Abandonment of Growth and the Decline of the West

From the founding of the republic to the turn of the millennium, America’s core economic creed was growth. That growth religion enabled the United States to become the world’s richest and most powerful nation, and dramatically improved Americans’ quality of life.

Tragically, over the last two decades, many have abandoned their faith in growth. As Rob Atkinson writes in The Independent Review, the new prevailing wisdom is that America and other nations should forswear growth for the sake of other goals: saving the planet, redistributing income, living simply, and the like.

The schism in America’s faith in growth has been led by an elite clique of economists, public intellectuals, and policy advocates, primarily liberals and progressives, who have come to view a wide range of pressing societal problems—from inequality to worker dislocation to excessive carbon pollution—as evidence that the American economic system itself is fatally flawed. In their despair and dismay, they have settled on a new, countervailing creed in which growth is not the solution to society’s problems, but the cause.

Abandoning faith in growth and progress—which runs deep in the DNA of America and most of the West—is not a trifling thing. It is an assault on the very character of the West.

Read the commentary.

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