The Limits to Growth 50 Years On: Where Do We Stand Today and What Can We Learn for Current Policies?



EUREF-Campus & Zoom



Half a century after the publication of the Club of Rome’s report, the question of the “Limits to Growth” still divides experts into seemingly irreconcilable camps. The debate seems to be stuck around the fundamental question of growth or non-growth as a goal. At the same time, as the urgency of the climate and environmental crisis is becoming more evident, new ideas are gaining ground that are more concerned with addressing the specific goals of saving the climate or biodiversity – and only secondly evaluating whether or not this still results in growth.


The symposium organised by the Forum New Economy in cooperation with the Club of Rome and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Sheffield (SPERI) aims at overcoming these divides in the ‘limits to growth’ debate. The symposium will examine the impact the Limits to Growth report has had and whether its message has been contradicted by reality as often argued, the empirical data we have on the compatibility of economic growth and environmental sustainability, discuss whether new approaches beyond the old fundamental question could serve as a bridge between the camps, and dig deeper into the question what the post-growth concept would mean for public budgets or innovation in the economy.


We want to discuss these questions with, among others, State Secretary for Economics Sven Giegold, post-growth representative Tim Jackson, DIW head Marcel Fratzscher, renowned economist Jayati Ghosh, as well as authors of the 1972 report and current representatives of the Club of Rome.




50 Years After The Limits to Growth – The Report and Its Impact in Retrospect

Michael Jacobs (SPERI)

Sandrine Dixson-Declève (Club of Rome)

Jørgen Randers (Co-Author of The Limits to Growth)

Tom Krebs (Forum New Economy, University of Mannheim)



Arguing for Degrowth – What’s the Evidence?

A conversation with Jason Hickel (UAB)




Post-Growth in Practice – How an Economy Without Growth Might Work

Presentation – Tim Jackson (University of Surrey)


Jonathan Barth (ZOE Institute)

Katharina Beck (Financial Policy Spokeswoman Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen)


Future Scenarios – An Overall Approach to Well-Being

Sandrine Dixson-Declève (Club of Rome)

Per Espen Stoknes (Norwegian Business School)





Beyond Growth – A Government’s View

Keynote: Sven Giegold (State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action) – Talk with Jørgen Randers (Co-Author of The Limits to Growth)

Moderation: Petra Pinzler (Die Zeit)


Reception + Standing Dinner

Sven Giegold

is State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection. From 2009 to 2021, he was a member of the European Parliament for Bündnis90/Die Grünen NRW. Most recently, he was spokesman for the German Greens in the European Parliament, chairman of the Green Group in the Committee on Economic and Financial Policy and substitute member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

Jason Hickel

is an economic anthropologist, author, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is Professor at the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and Visiting Senior Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics. Jason's research focuses on global inequality, political economy, post-development, and ecological economics.

Jørgen Randers

is professor emeritus of climate strategy at BI Norwegian Business School. He is concerned with issues of the future, particularly in the areas of sustainability, climate, energy, and system dynamics. He is co-author of 'The Limits to Growth' report from 1972.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève

is an international and European thought leader on climate, energy, sustainable development, sustainable finance, and complex systems. She is currently co-president of the Club of Rome and divides her time between lecturing, facilitating difficult conversations, and consulting work.

Jayati Ghosh

taught economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, for nearly 35 years and has been a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA, since January 2021. She has authored and/or edited 20 books and more than 200 scholarly articles. She is a member of several international boards and commissions, including the UN High-Level Advisory Panel on Economic and Social Affairs and INET's Commission on Global Economic Transformation.

Tim Jackson

is director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity ( and professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey (UK), where he has been researching the moral, economic, and social dimensions of prosperity on a finite planet for more than three decades. His book, Prosperity Without Growth, was the Financial Times Book of the Year.

Michael Jacobs

is an economist and political theorist, specializing in post-neoliberal political economy, climate change and environmental policy. Prior to joining SPERI, he was the Director of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice and was formerly an adviser to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Jonathan Barth

is managing director of the think tank ZOE. His expertise lies in the areas of economic modeling, plural economics, transformation research and energy transition. He is, among others, a member of the Think Tank 30 of the Club of Rome Germany, and the scientific working group sustainable money.

Katharina Beck

is the financial policy spokeswoman for the Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen parliamentary group and a member of the Bundestag. Previously, she was a management consultant for sustainability and a member of the supervisory board.

Per Espen Stoknes

is a Norwegian environmental psychologist and politician. He is an associate professor at BI Norwegian Business School. His research areas include climate and environmental strategies, environmental economics, and energy systems.

Nils aus dem Moore

has been head of the RWI office in Berlin since October 2019 and head of the research group "Sustainability and Governance" since January 2014. In the Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag "Growth, Prosperity, Quality of Life - Paths to Sustainable Economic Activity and Social Progress in the Social Market Economy", Mr. aus dem Moore worked in the project group on measuring prosperity from January 2011 to April 2013.

For an introduction to the current state of the growth versus non-growth debate, we recommend the following Forum New Economy Working Paper by Michael Jacobs and Xhulia Likaj: „Growth, Degrowth or Post-growth? Towards a synthetic understanding of the growth debate.“

The symposium is organized in cooperation with


Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Sheffield

The Club of Rome