After the second World War, the western race for efficiency and growth surged. The market principles devised by economist Adam Smith, were aimed at free competition and the achievement of maximum production, ultimately became a sort of dogma, which was to all intents, beyond question. The need to do more, to have more, and the idea of ‘bigger, better, stronger, faster’ was welcomed by everyone without exception; in the United States, for example, both the Democratic and Republican parties welcomed an ideology aimed at personal enrichment and constant economic development. The few criticisms made about this view were easily dismissed: growth was the answer to everything, and what came from it – material goods such as larger homes or greater quantities of food – was seen as the only source of fulfilment.
At some point, though, even in the best stories, the magic eventually fizzles out; the consequences, as we now know, have turned out to be quite worrying. In fact, three main problems related to this world view have now emerged: the first is of a political nature. Economic growth, in fact, tends not only to create prosperity, but also to generate inequality and social insecurity. The wealth that is produced, in essence, always ends up in the same pockets. The second problem concerns the environment. We are running out of natural resources; consumption has become unsustainable, and global warming is perhaps the most difficult challenge the world has ever faced. The third problem is the simplest one, but perhaps this also is the reason why it is the most widespread: growth is no longer able to make us happy. These three issues lead us to think that there will be nothing good for us on the horizon if we simply keep on asking "how can we produce more?".