, ,

Prosperity without Growth

Ever since I was introduced to Tim Jackson’s mind-blowingly smart criticism of exponential economic growth, I feel the need to qualify growth in my endeavours and my business name.

The first edition of Tim Jackson’s revolutionary assessment of the astounding flaws in our current economic thinking was first published in 2009. A substantially revised second edition (Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow) has been published in January 2017.  The book summarises the evidence showing that, beyond a certain level of comfort, further growth does not increase human wellbeing. Prosperity without Growth analyses the relationships between economic growth, climate change and social recession. It proposes a route to a sustainable economy without growth and argues for a redefinition of “prosperity” in light of the evidence on what really contributes to people’s wellbeing. As Jackson points out, what really truly matters hardly ever is of material nature once basic needs are met and survival is secure. In the wake of technological progress and the pursuit of ever-increasing profits, financial growth and its “skewed priorities” are linked to human exploitation and environmental destruction, which Jackson refers to as the “age of irresponsibility”. “The clearest message from the financial crisis of 2008 is that our current model of economic success is fundamentally flawed. For the advanced economies of the Western world, prosperity without growth is no longer a utopian dream. It is a financial and ecological necessity.” Jackson proposes a “Servicization” of the economy which would best support the circular economy (reuse-reproduce-recycle) that could not only save our planet but play a major role in supporting mental well-being and prosperity. Jackson explains how an emerging economic model could be the blueprint for the economy of tomorrow – an economy that provides plenty of purposeful work and treads lightly on the environment.

The book was described “one of the most outstanding pieces of environmental economics literature in recent years.” I certainly agree! The book is surprisingly easy to read, and even humorous in places. I would highly recommend it as inspiration for your own journey to sustainability!