Economic growth is the number one public policy goal around the world, yet our pursuit of growth is “pulling out the rug from our own kids’ and grandkids’ future,” according to Brian Czech, founder and president of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. He wants us to understand economic growth is physically impossible to sustain on a finite planet, it’s depleting nonrenewable natural resources and degrading or eliminating crucial habitat for other species.

Czech authored Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train in response to his analysis of the conflict between economic growth and sound environmental stewardship. The conservation biologist taught ecological economics for over a decade at Virginia Tech, and in 2013 penned Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution.

In part one of a two-part conversation (recorded in 2007 but just as relevant today), Brian explains our obsession with GDP growth, its failure to eliminate poverty and increase happiness, and why it’s failings are not commonly acknowledged.

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