Growth, Resources and the Circular Economy

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This paper examines how limitations to critical natural resources influence development of the economy and questions the sustainability of the current linear value chains characterized by ever increasing consumption of limited resources. As a mitigation strategy, the paper examines the theoretical basis for the circular economy concept and discuss its relation to the concept of sustainable development. A case-study of phosphorous production and consumption is included in the paper to illustrate the problems associated with the linear growth economy and to illustrate the relation between linear economic growth and the depletion of fundamental building blocks of our economy and eco-systems. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion about political attempts to create a circular economy in Europe and reflects upon the extent to which the circular economy concept can provide a better understanding of the relation between the growth economy and resource consumption. Through the case study it is argued, that there is an inherent mismatch between the closed loop narrative of the circular economy and the development of ever expanding global value chains.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Economies for Sustainability : Limits and Potentials for Possible Futures
EditorsLuise Li Langergaard
Number of pages19
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-81742-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-81743-5
Publication statusPublished - 2022
SeriesEthical Economy

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