Is the economy of the common good a solution to the conflict of goals between economic growth and environmental protection? This central question was discussed at the Schader Forum on 15 January. In addition to a public lecture, a panel discussion was held on this topic. The event was hosted by the Schader Foundation, Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences and the Center for Sustainable Economic and Corporate Policy (SECP)
ECONOMIC GROWTH AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
Economic growth has so far been regarded as inherent to the market economy: our economic system follows an internal logic of growth, which has its origins in the credit creation and interest rate system, among other things. However, negative side-effects of economic growth, especially in the ecological sector, are becoming increasingly apparent, and not only since the first report of the Club of Rome in 1972. Rising consumption of energy and raw materials and pollutant emissions are accompanied by an increase in economic activity. It is feared that if these environmental burdens were to be curbed through radical environmental protection, this would have dramatic effects on economic growth. There is much evidence of a fundamental conflict of objectives between economic growth and environmental protection. The economy of the common good sees this conflict of goals as solvable. Through an ethically based transformation of the market economy, a growth policy compatible with the common good can be achieved. Economic success should therefore be measured by the extent to which a company contributes to the satisfaction of needs, quality of life and public welfare. Appropriate incentives, including a tax system to be changed, reward sustainable economic activity.