Full text: Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - 2017 Heft 2 (2)

capital free for developing countries. Uncontrolled financial markets have led to
fore-running financial globalisation16 and real direct investments are relatively be-
hind, because until now economic growth in industrial countries could be kept
high. Cost pressures of low resource productivity were levelled-off by low wages
and raising prices. Although high capital intensity is still considered to augment
global competitiveness,17 competitiveness can also be augmented by lower natu-
ral capital costs, which allow higher wages and raises European welfare. To avoid
questionable higher global trade18 lower economic growth in industrial countries
and resource-saving will protect nature also in developing countries and allow the-
re higher consumption and to create more labour demand.
Market economies have always to grow to the extent to which a surplus of the
productive sector is needed to motivate for real investments. Changes of the
structure of consumption have an important influence, but ultimately reallocations
in the productive sector decide about the level and content of economic growth. If
capital intensity is reduced by higher resource productivity, the consumption pro-
ductivity of capital can be augmented and for a desired level of consumption less
natural capital and economic growth is needed. To turn the economy to a lower
growth, not labour productivity, but resource productivity has to be augmented. An
adequate innovation system will reduce overall capital intensity and create more
employment and protect nature. Therefore, less natural capital is needed for a de-
sired level of economic welfare and economic growth can be reduced. Prosperity
is possible without growth.19 In contrast to the traditional theory that a longer sys-
tem of production („Produktionsumwege“, Böhm-Bawerk [1909]) augments eco-
nomic welfare, a smaller transformation system from nature to final consumption
is advantageous both for nature and the economy.
Endnotes
1 European Commission (2010) 8.
2 Hödl (2011) 13.
3 European Commission (2003) 6.
4 Weizsäcker (1999) 57; Sinn (2003) 96.
5 European Commission (2010) 8.
6 Harris (1978) 97.
7 European Commission (2003) 7.
8 Keynes (1973) 7.
9 Hödl (2009).
10 Cecchini (1988) 121.
11 European Commission (2000) 19.
12 Pasinetti (1983) 206.
13 Picot et.al. (2004) 451.
14 Keynes (1973) 41.
15 Miegel (2011) 186.
16 Skidelski (2010) 25.
17 Sinn (2004) 69.
18 Keynes (1931).
19 Jackson (2011).
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Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft 43. Jahrgang (2017), Heft 2
        

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