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What Is Sustainable Economic Growth?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Sustainable economic growth is a term used to describe the ability to establish a situation in which the economy of a given jurisdiction is properly balanced in terms of supply and demand, with the flow of cash through the economy considered equitable and allowing everyone participating in the economy to enjoy an equitable standard of living. Once that situation is established, sustainable economic growth calls for continuing to enhance the general well-being of that economy, with no more than an occasional slowdown or reversal that is addressed and corrected with relative ease. As a situation that tends to avoid extreme and sudden economic change, this type of economy tends to experience very little in the way of sudden economic booms as well as the onset of period of severe economic decline.

While there is some difference of opinion regarding how long sustainable economic growth can be achieved, and even how to go about achieving it, there are a few core characteristics that tend to identify this type of economic pattern. Typically, the ability of residents and companies to secure essential goods and services with little to no financial hardship is considered a foundational aspect of this type of growth pattern. In addition, productivity is usually high, with companies operating at near full capacity and unemployment being kept to a minimum.

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The goal of achieving sustainable economic growth is common in most nations, with periods of this type of growth sometimes lasting for decades before some type of economic event causes some sort of extreme change. Governmental intervention in the course of the economy is often viewed as essential, with various strategies such as using the financial resources of a central or national banking system to aid in moving the economy away from periods of severe recession or inflation. In like manner, governments may pass legislation that helps to support certain industries as one way of helping to keep the economy on a more or less even keel, and prevent movement toward either economic extreme.

While sustainable economic growth can and has been achieved for extended periods of time in a number of nations, a number of factors can come together in order to undermine this balance and lead to severe shifts in the economy. Events such as stock market reversals, the dismantling of a prominent industry, and even natural disasters that undermine the productivity of a nation that provides a significant amount of goods and services to other countries can create far-reaching circumstances, even leading to global economic reversals that take years to overcome. For this reason, analysts and other economic professionals are constantly seeking to relate current events to projections for future economic movement, and aid in developing strategies that can help minimize the impact of these events, making it possible to eventually enter into another extended period of sustainable economic growth.

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