Even without growth, you have a lot of social mobility -- downwards as well as upwards.
Surely Europe between, say 1760 and 1900 looks different than China in the same period. Perhaps 100 years from now, it will be decided that the Chinese Mandarins were right after all , but that's not consistent with how we look at the world today.
And given some of the posts I've seen here, maybe it will be like that. You didn't have to explain why growth was of value 20 years ago - outside a few odd cases, it was assumed.