The developed world is dependent upon an increasingly unreliable strategy of economic growth to avoid a range of social problems. The character of growth in the developed world has become increasingly perverse, being based partly on frustration strategies, in response to the widespread satiation of basic needs. The rise of satiation has been obscured by the focus of economists on output measures, such as GDP. Meanwhile, trade engagement with the developing world – a potential strategy for need-satisfying growth – is hampered by fears of intellectual property arbitrage and agricultural protectionism. Near term, growth could be sustained by overcoming these impediments. Longer term, a transition is required from growth in output to growth in sophistication.