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Counterintuitive Solutions

Percieved Solution is the Problem
Economic growth is considered by mainstream economists and most political parties as the solution to a variety of global problems. Economic growth is seen as the solution to poverty in both developed and developing countries, world hunger, over population, environmental degradation, and a range of social problems. This belief is pervasive, crossing ethnic, religious and political boundaries. As one of the most significant ideas embedded in our global culture, it is difficult for believers in the benefits of economic growth to even consider that with all its apparent benefits, the downside of growth has the potential for devastation and irreparable harm (see Causes of Scale Problems).

Limits to the Contributions of Economic Growth
The concept of sustainable scale clarifies that continued expansion of the global economy can be "uneconomic" in the sense that costs may exceed benefits. This may occur even when traditional market signals obscure this net loss, by ignoring externalized costs. The concept of sustainable scale is compatible with the notion that economic activity is essential to human well being, but clarifies that there are limits to the contributions economic growth can make. The biophysical limits of ecosystem functioning which determine sustainability define those limits beyond which continued economic growth becomes destructive. By connecting the issues of economic growth and ecosystem sustainability, the concept of sustainable scale provides an important and distinctive perspective in sorting out these vital challenges (see Attractive Solutions).

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