Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Prosperity without growth

"Here is the story of [...] our consumer society. It is a story of us being encouraged, persuaded perhaps, to spend money we don't have on things we don't need to create impressions that won't last on people we don't care about - or worse still, who don't care about us. [...] It's a pathological system."

- Tim Jackson, 2010 Deakin lecture.

How can our economy continue to expand on a finite planet? Tim Jackson is author of Prosperity without growth: economics for a finite planet. A longish report with a similar title that I assume is related to the book can be downloaded for free from here. I haven't read much on this topic and haven't yet read Jackson's argument to know whether it is plausible, but unless we can wake up from the dream of endless growth (which turns out to be a nightmare), then we're toast.

"The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around." - Gaylord Nelson.
H/T Matt Moffitt.


byron smith said...

Wow, listening to his lecture now. To decouple growth from carbon (for instance, there are many other areas that need to be decoupled), making assumptions of 2% pa growth and standard 2ºC targets, we would need to improve carbon efficiency (CO2/$ produced) by a factor of about 130. Not by 130%, but 130 times. Wow.

byron smith said...

There is an interesting discussion about climate change and capitalism over here, which begins with a review of a relevant book.