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Popular authors and international organizations recommend transformation to a ‘new economy’. However, this is misleadingly interpreted as radical or revolutionary. Two problematic positions are revealed: being pro-growth while seeking to change the current form of capitalism (e.g. Ha-Joon Chang), and being anti-growth on environmental grounds but promoting growth for poverty alleviation and due to agnosticism about growth (e.g. Tim Jackson and Kate Raworth). Both positions involve contradictions and an evident failure to address, or perhaps even a denial of, the actual operations of capital accumulating economies. Thus, economists ostensibly critical of capitalism turn out to be apologists for growth who conform to the requirements of a top-down passive revolution, that leaves power relations undisturbed and the economic structure fundamentally unchanged. The growth economy is shown to include technocracy, productivism associated with eugenics, inequity disguised as meritocracy, competition concealing militarism and imperialism, imposition of development as progress, and financialization and commodification of Nature.

Globalizations, October 2020