More stuff is better.
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- More stuff is better.
Economic growth is not important for the mere sake of accumulating more money; wealth and economic growth help us live longer and healthier lives.
Here’s why you should care: economic growth means more babies survive childbirth and then live longer; economic growth means adults live healthier longer and more-educated lives; economic growth means clean water and better sanitation. Yes, economic growth brings iPads and jet-skis, but it’s much more important than that.
Real World Examples
Investments in human capital spurs economic growth
A solution to the high school dropout problem that is popular in over 30 developing countries are conditional cash transfer programs. These programs, like Oportunidades in Mexico and Bolsa Familia in Brazil, pay families to make sure that their children attend school, get medical checkups and take classes in healthy eating.
The aim is to provide a financial incentive to attain more schooling by paying the households a cash stipend. Without the stipend many low-income students would drop out of school and work. Studies have shown that cash transfer programs promote longer-term investments in human capital by lowering the dropout rate and the increasing the average level of education attained.
Technology’s affect on economic growth
Before the printing press each book was individually transcribed and copied by hand. The printing press allowed for the mass production and distribution of information. The tractor ushered in modern farming and made it possible for a single farmer to plow hundreds of acres a year. This reduced the number of agricultural workers needed to grow food – allowing those workers to do something else more productive in the process.
Tim Berners-Lee made the Internet widely accessible and life has never been the same. It is much easier to participate in global markets, communicate around the world, learn about specialty products, and access vast amounts of information than ever before. The productivity gains are astounding.