Between Growth-fetishism and Green Recovery


  • Nilanjan Ghosh Observer Research Foundation



Growth-Fetishism, Green Recovery, Sustainable Development Goals, Natural Capital, Human Capital, Degrowth, Global North, Global South, India.


This paper posits that the choices that global economies are faced with for post-pandemic development range between the extremes of growth-fetishism and green recovery. The paper highlights that green recovery and the green transition have different connotations in different parts of the world, leading to a huge divergence in their delineations across the Global North and South. The paper further argues that models of degrowth, which emphasize contraction of economic activities for the cause of nature, cannot be applied in large parts of the developing world. The challenge for a developing nation like India is to understand how and where it can position itself in this gamut of developmental paradigms that range between growth-fetishism and green recovery. The paper proposes that Indian green recovery must be based on the Sustainable Development Goals, hinging on two key elements...


Metrics Loading ...


Adloff, Frank. 2014. “‘Wrong Life Can Be Lived Rightly’ Convivialism: Background to a Debate.” Convivialist Manifesto. A Declaration of Interdependence (Global Dialogues 3). Duisburg 2014: Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21).

Basak, Saptarshi. 2022. “Explained: Sri Lanka’s Foreign Currency Crisis & How It Is Ruining the Economy.” The Quint, May 9.

Bhowmick, Soumya (2022). “Understanding the Economic Issues in Sri Lanka’s Current Debacle,” ORF Occasional Paper No. 357, June 2022, Observer Research Foundation.

Dong, Shikui, Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, and Sanjay Chaturvedi. 2017. Environmental Sustainability from the Himalayas to the Oceans Struggles and Innovations in China and India. Singapore: Springer.

Fan, Shenggen, Peter Hazell, and Sukhadeo Thorat. 2000. “Government Spending, Growth and Poverty in Rural India.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 82: 1038–51.

Ghosh, Nilanjan 2020. “The Indian Imperatives in the Post-COVID World.” In COVID-19: Challenges for the Indian Economy: Trade and Foreign Policy Effects. New Delhi: ASEAN-India Centre at RIS (AIC) and EEPC.

———. 2021. “Is Increasing Wealth Inequality Coming in the Way of Economic Growth in India?” ORF Expert Speak.

———. 2022. “The Fate of the Green Agenda: Does Multilateralism Have a Future?” The Valdai Club.

Ghosh, Nilanjan, Soumya Bhowmick, and Roshan Saha. 2019. “SDG Index and Ease of Doing Business in India: A Sub-national Study.” Occasional Paper No. 199, Observer Research Foundation.

Government of India. 2022. “Union Budget 2022–23: “Speech of Nirmala Sitharaman Minister of Finance.” Union Budget, Ministry of Finance.

Hickel, Jason. 2020. Less Is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World. New York: Penguin Random House.

Laurance William, Mason Campbell, Mohammed Alamgir, and Mahmoud Mahmoud. 2017. “Road Expansion and the Fate of Africa’s Tropical Forests.” Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 5: 75.

Meadows, Dennis, Donella Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and Willian Behrens III (Eds). 1972. A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. New York: Universe Books.

Munasinghe, Mohan. 2010. “Addressing Sustainable Development and Climate Change Together Using Sustainomics.” WIRES Climate Change 2(1): 7–18.

Mutikani, Lucia. 2021. “U.S. Economy Contracted 19.2% During COVID-19 Pandemic Recession.” Reuters, July 29.

Nuroglu, Erif, and Robert Kunst. 2018. “Kuznets and Environmental Kuznets Curves for Developing Countries.” In Yülek, M (ed), Industrial Policy and Sustainable Growth. Singapore: Springer.

Parry, Martin. 2009. “Climate Change Is a Development Issue, and only Sustainable Development Can Confront the Challenge.” Climate and Development 1(1): 5–9.

Peet, Richard, Paul Robons, and Michael Watts (eds). 2011. Global Political Ecology. Abingdon: Routledge.

Rahman, Muhammad Ishaq-ur 2013. “Climate Change: A Theoretical Review,” Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems 11(1): 1–13.

Ravallion, Martin and Gaurav Datt. 2002. “Why Has Economic Growth Been More Pro-poor in Some States of India than Others?” Journal of Development Economics 68: 381–400.

Sen, Amartya. 2020. “A Better Society Can Emerge from the Lockdowns.” Financial Times, April 15.

Sukhdev, Pavan. 2009. “Costing the Earth.” Nature 462(7271): 277.

UNEP. 2018. Inclusive Wealth Report 2018. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi.

Verma, Monica. 2022. “How Environmental Wokeness Cost Sri Lanka Its Food Security.” News18, April 11, 2022.

WEF. 2021. Mission 2070: A Green New Deal for a Net Zero India. White Paper. Geneva: World Economic Forum.

Ward, James, Paul Sutton, Adrian Werner, Robert Costanza, Steve Mohr, and Craig Simmons (2016). “Is Decoupling GDP Growth from Environmental Impact Possible?” PLOS ONE 11(10): e0164733.

Wignaraja, Ganeshan. 2022. “Five Lessons from Sri Lanka’s Debt and Economic Crisis.” ODI, April 27, 2022.

Winkler, Karina, Richard Fuchs, Mark Rounsevell, and Martin Harold (2021). “Global Land Use Changes are Four Times Greater than Previously Estimated.” Nature Communications 12: 2501.

Additional Files