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BBC: "Can the world get richer for ever?"

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"Since the dawn of the industrial age, the world has been steadily getting wealthier, despite setbacks such as the Great Depression and the more recent global financial crisis. We make more, sell more and consume more than ever before.

"Yet, according to the United Nations, nearly three billion people still live on less than $2.50 (£1.70) per day.

"So, how can we raise living standards for those who still live in poverty? The answer, according to most governments, is rapid economic growth.

"Growth is seen as a panacea for a great many ills. It creates jobs, erodes debts and raises living standards. For politicians, it also generates votes. It is almost universally seen as a Good Thing."

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