John Gibbons: Endless economic growth at any price is the road to ruin

Revelations that Amazon routinely destroys millions of unsold items raise key questions around the concept of exponential economic growth

Amazon made headlines last week when it emerged that the web retail giant routinely destroys millions of unsold items. Picture: Getty

Kenneth Boulding, the US economist, famously quipped in 2019 that anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world “is either a madman or an economist”.

Even John Stuart Mill, the 19th-century father of liberal economics, wrote extensively of the desirability of a “stationary state” as the ideal model for a stable, sustainable society.

A rare glimpse into the everyday madness of globalised hyper-consumption emerged last week with the revelation that ...