Can the World Get Richer Forever?

Theo Leggett looks at our apparent addiction to economic growth as the secret to prosperity and cure for global poverty. In a finite world with limited resources, can economies continue to grow indefinitely, or will physical and environmental constraints have the final word?

Do technology and humanity’s apparently inexhaustible supply of ingenuity have the answer – or do we need to redefine what we understand by wealth and growth? Will we have to accept one day, that for the majority to get richer, some may actually have to become poorer? Is the future one of resource wars and ever-increasing pollution, or can we create a world in which energy and resource use remains stable, but living standards continue to rise?

Theo will be reflecting on these points with big thinkers from a range of different backgrounds –among them leading African entrepreneur and philanthropist Ashish J Thakkar, American physicist Tom Murphy, Indian environmental activist and anti-globalisation campaigner Vandana Shiva and Yoram Bauman – an economist who uses stand up comedy to promote market-based solutions to global warming.

(Photo: The staircase inside a replica White House, a $20million villa being built inside Dream City, in Erbil, Iraq. Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Release date:

Available now

55 minutes

Last on

Wed 18 Mar 2015 09:05 GMT

Featured in...

In Detail: Moving Pictures

A Flower Painting by Rachel Ruysch

Take time to discover the detail in old masterpieces using your phone, tablet or computer

Amazing documentaries from 2017


Catch up on some of the most powerful global stories from the last year


The Space Race

Stargazing - from eclipses to the spacecraft changing our view of the Universe

The Documentary Podcast

The Documentary Podcast

Every episode of The Documentary, on your mp3 player, to play wherever you are

The Compass

The Compass - branding 1920

The essential take on big ideas, issues and trends from the 21st century