Part [part not set] of 10 in series "TEDx Talks on the Ethics of Business & Economics"

Last week I started a new digital bookshelf on the necessity and desirability of economic growth. While adding books to it, I got inspired to also put together a new post in my (rather irregularly published) blog series with TEDx talks. So here it is. The four TEDx talks that I found on economic growth are all very different in their angle and argument – enjoy.


1) Can Our Economies Grow Forever? | Paul Ekins | TEDxUCL (2016)

Can our economies grow forever, Paul Ekins asks in his talk. Well, they can grow further for at least several decades, is his answer. In his talk he discusses the trend in the past few decades of increasing economic growth and, simultaneously, decreasing environmental problems according to various indicators. Keeping the latter up requires, he acknowledges, further policies stimulating ‘green technologies’. But these policies are not necessarily limiting our economies, he thinks; They may become a new source of growth themselves. See video on top of this post

Here is the bio of the speaker, copied from YouTube:

Paul Ekins has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of London and is Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy and Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources at University College London. He is also a Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre. Paul Ekins’ academic work, published in numerous books, articles and scientific papers, focuses on the conditions and policies for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy. His book Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability: the Prospects for Green Growth appeared in 2000. In the UK New Year’s Honours List for 2015 he received an OBE for services to environmental policy.”  

2) Plan B — Is There an Alternative to Economic Growth? | Miklós Antal | TEDxDanubia (2014)

The speaker of the second TEDx talk on economic growth, ecological economist Miklós Antal (see video below), is less optimistic that economic growth can be decoupled from environmental degradation. He discusses seven reasons why ‘green growth’ will not allow us to have our cake and eat it, or keep growing and save the planet at the same time. These include absolute environmental and efficiency limits, physical lock-ins and social inertia. So we better, Antal warns, start looking for a plan B…

The bio of Antal as it is accompanying the talk at YouTube:

“Miklós Antal, ecological economist, is a postdoctoral researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He now studies macroeconomic aspects of sustainability transitions. Previously he was engaged in energy modeling at the Central European University in Budapest. He got his PhD in economics and MSc in engineering-physics at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. His multidisciplinary research interests are reflected by a number of publications in respected scientific journals, both in natural and social sciences. His commitment to sustainability is not restricted to academic life, he is the scientist who also “walks the talk”: his cell phone was hip ten years ago, he avoids flying (which can be a challenging principle to follow at times) and actively encourages his environment to explore the joys of green living.”

3) The Economics of Enough | Dan O’Neill | TEDxOxbridge (2014)

Whereas the previous TEDx talk argued merely that there is a problem with continuing economic growth, Dan O’Neill – also an ecological economist – in his talks sketches some solutions for achieving a ‘steady state economy’ or ‘sustainable prosperity’:

  1. Working time reduction to achieve more quality of life
  2. Addressing inequality by setting a maximum income
  3. Reforming the financial system

The bio of O’Neill as it is accompanying the talk at YouTube:

“Dan O’Neill is a lecturer in ecological economics at the University of Leeds, and the chief economist at the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE). His work focuses on the changes that would be needed to achieve a prosperous non-growing economy, and alternative ways of measuring progress besides GDP. He is co-author (with Rob Dietz) of Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources, an international best-seller which has recently been made into a short film. When he isn’t doing research or teaching, Dan enjoys hiking in the Yorkshire Dales and singing songs about the misguided pursuit of economic growth.”

4) An Economic Reality Check | Tim Jackson | TEDx (2010)

The fourth and final video on the necessity and desirability of economic growth further elaborates on quality of life as an important aspect of the debate. Ecological economist Tim Jackson discusses among others economic system dynamics, the drivers of human consumption, human nature and what it means to be fully human, human flourishing and ‘meaningful prosperity’ as the way to go.

The bio of Tim Jackson as it can be found on Wikipedia:

Tim Jackson FRSA FAcSS (born 1957) is a British ecological economist and professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey. He is the director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), a multi-disciplinary, international research consortium which aims to understand the economic, social and political dimensions of sustainable prosperity. Tim Jackson is the author of Prosperity Without Growth (2009 and 2017) and Material Concerns (1996)”

Series "TEDx Talks on the Ethics of Business & Economics":

Have you got 10 to 20 minutes left for a boost of knowledge or inspiration? Watch one of the TEDx talks that we selected for you in the area of ethics and business/economics. All videos in this series, filterable by topic, can also be found at

Articles in this series:
  1. Rethinking Economics; 5 TEDx Talks (and 4 Books)
  2. Fair Trade; 4 TEDx Talks
  3. Economic Growth; 4 TEDx Talks
  4. The Business Case for Sustainability; 4 TEDx Talks
  5. Conscious Capitalism; 4 TEDx Talks
  6. Ethical Consumerism; 4 TEDx Talks
  7. Purpose in Business; 3 TEDx Talks
  8. Business Ethics; 4 TEDx Talks
  9. Pro or Con Free Markets?; 4 TEDx Talks
  10. The Nature of Capitalism; 4 TEDx Talks