That’s one of the questions the Ecologist put to Deutsche Bank economist Pavan Sukhdev:
You can in some circumstances but you can’t in others. What I am talking about is lifecycle. It is possible for a pupa to become a butterfly but it is not possible for a caterpillar to become a butterfly without first being a pupa.
At a certain stage I believe that almost any society can reach stages where progress does not result in, or correlate with, getting bigger, i.e. GDP, but progress relates to quality of life as in improved environment, relationships, reduced poverty, inequalities, better protected ecosystems.
I do believe society can get better, people can get happier and economies can get more robust whilst not actually increasing GDP, production or growing in the classical way.