POSTED: October 15, 2018
Economy | Politics & Enterprise | System Dynamics

Global Strategic Trends | MOD taking note of the Post-Growth Challenge

Tim Jackson’s work on the Growth Dilemma informs the latest Global Strategic Trends review
15 Oct 2018

Global Strategic Trends Review | MOD taking note of the Post-Growth Challenge

On 15 October, the UK Ministry of Defence’s think tank, the Development Concepts and Doctrine Centre, published its sixth Global Strategic Trends report, setting out “the need to take action against the latest strategic threats to UK defence and security” — recognising climate breakdown, the environmental impact of mass-consumption and growing inequality as key factors.

The Future Starts Today draws on a range of analysis across academia, business, government departments and nations from across the globe, including commissioned research by CUSP Director Tim Jackson. His paper The Dilemma of Growth explores the dynamics of secular stagnation and unpacks the close relationships between productivity growth, the wage rate and social inequality. Contrary to some mainstream views, his paper finds no inevitability in the rising inequality that has haunted advanced economies in recent decades, suggesting instead that it lies in the pursuit of growth at all costs, even in the face of challenging fundamentals. A strategy, he argues, that has hindered technological innovation, reinforced inequality and exacerbated financial instability.

It is now time for policy to consider seriously the possibility that low growth rates might be ‘the new normal’ and to address carefully the ‘post-growth challenge’ this poses. The Ministry of Defence is taking note: “Economic growth”, the GST report states, “could become evermore elusive for developed economies. Economic paradigms and assumptions need to be carefully considered and planning considerations need to be realistic.” The Future Starts Today.


Global Strategic Trends (GST) is on the Government website described as “a strategic context for those in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and wider government who are involved in developing long term plans, strategies, policies and capabilities. Without a strategic context there is a risk that planners, policymakers and capability developers may assume a future that adheres to preconceived thoughts and assumptions.”


  • The full Global Strategic Trends report can be accessed on the UK Government website.
  • An edited version of Tim Jackson’s report to the MOD think tank was published as CUSP Working Paper No 12, The Post-Growth Challenge—Secular Stagnation, Inequality and the Limits to Growth.
  • A review article by Nafeez Ahmed can be accessed on


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