On the left, to focus intently on economic growth has always carried a small taint of suspicion. Conservatives and libertarians pushed “growth, growth, growth” for so long that for progressives, who worried more about distribution and equality, the need for growth itself was questioned. If my ideological enemy is so in favor of it, it can’t be that great.
But the economic travails of the last decade ended most of those worries. The cold reality of stagnating wages, half-full factories, all the rest, made the idea of a “steady-state economy,” for instance, look naive. Towns, jobs, and economies need to be rebuilt on surer footing. So if we do want robust growth after all, what’s been preventing it?
With the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, we gathered some of the best thinkers on topics ranging from the usual-but-vital, like health care and immigration, to less-trodden policy areas, like antitrust, financial technology, and labor mobility. Together, their proposals offer a way not only to get back to real growth, but to do so while honoring—indeed advancing—those goals of equality and sustainability.