If past trends continue, the world’s GDP will be about twice as big by 2040 as it is today. That’s the sort of growth rate that translates to 30-fold growth over a century, or by a factor of a thousand over two centuries.

Is that miraculous, or apocalyptic? In itself, neither. GDP is a synthetic statistic, invented to help us put a measuring rod up against the ordinary business of life. It measures neither the energy and resource consumption that might worry us, nor the things that really lead to human flourishing.

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