Sustainable Growth and Economic Development

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Economic growth has been used with other terms such as development, modernization, westernization and industrialization. It is, in other words, a transition from a simple, low-income economy to a modern, high- income economy. Its scope includes the process and policies by which a nation improves the economic, political, and social well-being of its people. Though it is often measured by rate of change of gross domestic product, it is generally understood in terms of increase in per capita income, and attainment of a standard of living equivalent to that of industrialized countries.

Economic growth implies a change in the way goods and services are produced, not merely an increase in production achieved using the old methods of production on a wider scale. It also involves improvements in a variety of indicators such as literacy rates, life expectancy, and poverty rates. In addition to increasing private incomes, economic growth also generates additional resources that can be used to improve social services such as healthcare, safe drinking water etc.

However, the conflict between economic growth and sustainable development is not always necessary. Economic growth does not always contribute to environmental degradation. In the early stages of growth, quality of environment generally deteriorates but at higher levels of per capita income, it improves. The link between income and pollution arises because the composition of output changes with growth in favor of newer, cleaner technologies. Thus, sustained economic growth is the key to sustainable development.

Pollution tends to be related to population, and population growth is inversely related to income growth. Higher average income and output levels are only good for the environment when associated with policies that lessen demographic pressures by reducing personal risk and the need for large families. Also, improvements in the security of employment, education and training, pension policies, social...
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