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Pure technological progress, rather, proceeds in waves.  
and ends (if all goes well) in long plateaus.
In other words, technological evolution is a punctuated equilibrium process. Stuart Kauffman describes a sensible model of it in the last chapter of At Home in the Universe.
So I strongly disagree regarding a new economic model that does not have growth as one of its normal states.

Okay, you can disagree.  But aside from oscillations about a mean, I am sure that growth cannot be a normal state:  It can be a temporary transient state.

The problem is that, when growth takes place over several generations, it produces a cultural change.

My own pet theory is that after the collapse of the 14th century, Europe experienced a century of sustained growth. Also, because the crisis of the 14th century was so devastating it made cultural norms vulnerable to questioning and substitution and in particular the moral reservations about usury were replaced with tolerance for charging interest which is a key part of modern financial capitalism. Growth makes compound interest possible, but after 100-150 years people reverse the causal chain in their heads and come to think that interest is what makes growth possible.

What we have here is an example of cultural and economic adaptive radiation following an extinction event  (to use a biological metaphor).

I have developed these themes before in comment threads here, here and here.

The technical advances we have seen over the last century and a half have been as much a function of cheap energy as SUVs and McMansions.  Like the latter, they will mostly fall apart fairly quickly when energy becomes expensive.
In many cases that is a reversal of causation, as what cheap energy made possible is the spread of the technology, not its development. We had metallurgy, chemistry, and even electrical engineering before we had plentiful oil.
Navigating collapse is totally outside our current models.  Steady state economies can be imagined, but only achieved AFTER collapse has been navigated.  Which is unlikely, and why the most likely scenerio is a sort of free-fall:  Whatever happens will happen with little mitigation.  It is like a drug addict's final binge.
If you can imagine you can chart a course to get there with minimal pain. The problem is ultimately political, not one of "models".

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 7th, 2008 at 04:23:41 AM EST
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