Ladies and gentlemen,

Growth – for some represented by a large bank account or joining the ranks of the super-rich; for others a fulfilling situation of modest self-satisfaction. There are worlds between the two and a French children's rhyme shows well just where unchecked growth can lead: “In a pond, a lily doubles in size everyday. In thirty days it covers the whole pond. It's growth doesn't seem threatening as long as enough of the water's surface can be seen. Even on the twenty-ninth day half the pond is visible. But on the thirtieth day the pond is overgrown.” Growth fuels fear and anxiety. A fear of rapidly growing markets, the (even) greater divide between rich and poor, the crowding out of SMEs by global players or of competition for the best workers. The fear of being squeezed out or of a deterioration in the economic climate; of crises, recession and unemployment.Growth also often triggers overwhelming euphoria, the consequences of which are excessive bonus payments, speculation on the real estate, derivatives and commodities markets, and price bubbles. or the forcing up of prices. In such situations, public confidence in the economy swings between fear and euphoria.

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