Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet
by Tim Jackson. Earthscan. 2009. 264 pages. $22.50.
Many nations experienced momentous economic growth across the globe over the last few decades, yet people’s reported levels of happiness stayed the same, according to environmental economist Tim Jackson. He adds that this is not surprising: Just because a nation’s economy is growing does not mean that its people are better off. In fact, sometimes economic growth can be detrimental to national well-being.
Jackson points out the roles that uncontrolled speculation and scarcities in land and resources played in hastening the 2008 economic crash and hampering economic recovery. Non-stop economic growth is the aim of most modern economies, but it is ecologically and socially impossible.
The great challenge of our time will be learning how to flourish within our ecological and social limits, Jackson concludes. This will require a new kind of “ecological macronomics” that will require structural reforms and societal values shifts to come into being.
Prosperity Without Growth is a futurist’s approach to global economics, its potential trajectories, and the desirable future to which the author believes societies can and should aspire. It is well-suited for economists and for general reading audiences.