his article critically examines and problematises the ‘taken for granted’ status of economic growth within modern politics and political economy. It views economic growth is an ideology and structural interest of the capitalist state, one that serves the interests of a specific class or elite rather than, beyond a threshold, the interests of a majority in society. The article outlines some of the historical and institutional origins of economic growth as a core state imperative. It focuses on the immediate post-WW2 period, the Cold War, and the role of the OECD (and its predecessor the OEEC) in systematically disseminating and promoting GDP growth in Western European countries as a key part of the US led competition of the ‘free capitalist world’ against the Communist bloc. The article suggests that economic growth is s a powerful idea that has become a keystone of the (initially Keynesian-based) political ideology of growth, which in turn enabled and empowered state and supra-state institutions, and acted as a legitimating ideology throughout capitalist societies.