Arbeitsberichte der Hochschule für Wirtschaft FHNW - Nr. 1

Is there a Growth Imperative in Capitalist Economies? A Circular Flow Perspective
Discussion paper - School of Business FHNW

Mathias Binswanger
ISSN Nr. 1662-3266 (Print)
Nr. 1662-3274 (Internet)
ISBN Nr. 978-3-03724-092-2
Institute Institute for Competitiveness and Communication, ICC

Date February, 2008

Abstract

This paper postulates the existence of a growth imperative in capitalist economies. The argument is based on a simple circular flow model of a pure credit economy, where production takes time. In this economy positive growth rates are necessary in the long run in order to enable firms to make profits in the aggregate. If the growth rate falls below a certain positive threshold level, firms will make losses. Under these circumstances they will go out of business, which moves the whole economy into a downward spiral. According to our model, capitalist economies can either grow (at a sufficiently high rate) or shrink if the growth rate falls below the positive threshold level. Therefore, a zero-growth economy is not feasible in the long run.

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