So...one of the Aretaevian themes is that growth > almost everything else in importance.
The oversimplified demonstration:
Suppose you have value v. V may be food, cocaine, being outside in the Sequoias, preventing climate change, or saving African children from malaria. Suppose also that there is a universal currency, say '$'. By universal currency, I mean that $ may be exchanged for any of the above. Oddly, this situation holds in the real world.
Suppose also that for each of the above values v1...v5, you can presently purchase 1 unit of v for $1. The question is...should you buy 1 unit now, or should you try to grow your $.
At a rate of growth of 1%/year, your $1 will be worth $2 in roughly 2045, and unless 2 units of v in 35 years are worth more to you than 1 unit of v right now...Odds are, given time preferences, no.
At a rate of growth of 8%/year, your $1 will be worth roughly $16 in roughly 2045, and unless 1 unit now is worth more to you than 16 units 35 years hence, you should save.
Furthermore...for most items...at least v1,v2,v4,v5...they are at least partially technologically based...and you can expect that $1 in 2045 will buy 2,4,or 100 units of your value.
It becomes an important question then whether, for ANY value you hold for society, spending money now (or making laws) on that goal, rather than spending money on growth (or not, or not making regulations) is worth the cost. It seems to be a real open question whether spending money on feeding the poor now is better or worse than no money on the poor, and focusing on growth, so there's more to go around in 10 years.
But it's worse...if this is a national economy...any money/regulation spent now is money/freedom not devoted towards growth, and thus buying more of v1 now not only decreases the v1 that we can buy later, but also the v2-v5 available as well.
While there are counterexamples (Is Chile's continuing fabulous growth, caused by Pinochet and his secret police, net worth it?) , there should be, in the mathematically literate, a strong presumption against doing things that decrease growth. On the other hand...if you're advocating "saving rainforests" and it's going to cost growth, know also that you're probably not only saving less rainforest than if you'd waited til you/country were wealthier, but also you're causing less succor to the malarial victims as well.
In the climate change case, it's particularly shocking.
$1 spent now is generally $2, $4, or $8 not available later, when technology will have advanced, things will be cheaper by 50-99%, and we'll know more due to having data instead of highly fallible mathematical models. Acting on climate change this week/year seems almost guaranteed to be colossally stupid if it decreases growth at all, (as all known measures would)...due to the magnifying effects of $ as time goes on.