Events - 03.03.2016 - 00:00 

New limits to growth

What consequences are accepted in order to be able to boost economic performance worldwide? Is material wealth distributed in a fair manner? And what alternative approaches to societal welfare are there? Questions concerning the issue of growth will be asked at the 46th edition of the St. Gallen Symposium on the campus of the HSG from 11 to 13 May 2016.
Source: HSG Newsroom


3 March 2016. This international conference has been organised by HSG students ever since 1969. Media representatives are warmly welcome; registration is kindly requested. During the St. Gallen Symposium, the International Students’ Committee (ISC) will bring together about 600 decision-makers from business, politics and academia with 200 students and young achievers from more than 60 countries on the campus of the University of St.Gallen.

"Growth – the good, the bad, and the ugly"

With the topic of “growth”, the organisers of the St. Gallen Symposium will return to the very beginnings of the conference: the St.Gallen students discussed the future of the world economy at the HSG as early as 1972. In that year, the study Limits to Growth was presented, which had been commissioned by the Club of Rome. For this study, the academics Donella and Dennis Meadows from the Jay Wright Forrester’s Institute of System Dynamics had examined five global developments: industrialisation, population growth, malnutrition, the exploitation of raw material reserves and the destruction of the environment.

Today, 44 years after the publication of Limits to Growth, the world economy is wrestling with decreasing growth rates. Even growth drivers like India and China are being confronted with increasing difficulties. In the US, the economic situation only improved when the Federal Reserve increased the monetary base. This “quantitative easing” helped the limping US economy to temporarily get back on its feet. Europe’s national economies are registering growth primarily in terms of debt. How could a new wave of growth be triggered off?

Growth as a generator of prosperity

Economic growth was and is considered to be a generator of prosperity. Capitalism, market economy and financial markets aim to increase the gross national product. Frequently, it is technology that is regarded as the trigger for new waves of growth: the invention of the steam engine, electric power and the computer are cases in point. However, the World Wide Web, robotics and biotechnology have not been able to lead the world economy back to the level it was at before the latest crisis.

The organisers of the 46th St. Gallen Symposium will put the seeming dependence of societal welfare on economic growth up for debate. The conference will focus on questions such as, Is it possible to maintain or even increase prosperity without further economic growth? Is permanent growth at all possible in a world with limited resources? Is there a limit to growth? If there is, have the saturated national economies already reached it?

The 46th St. Gallen Symposium invites participants to question the concept of economic growth like any other idea, to put it into a new context and to examine it from different perspectives. The student organisers and their guests will reflect on all aspects of economic growth: “Growth – the good, the bad, and the ugly”.