“Society is faced with a profound dilemma. To reject growth is to risk economic and social collapse. To pursue it relentlessly is to endanger the ecosystems on which we depend for long-term survival.”
In this updated edition of his book, first published in 2010, Jackson forensically dissects the premises and assumptions of our current economic models. He explains how governments are caught in the dilemma of growth with a vital responsibility to protect jobs and ensure stability, how the state is bound (under current macroeconomic understandings) to prioritise economic growth.
He explains how ‘free-market’ orthodoxy, deregulation and laissez-faire politics have dragged the economy away from its role of ensuring prosperity for the many, evidenced by the high correlation between health and social problems and rising inequality in OECD nations.
While it is obvious that endless growth in a resource-limited environment is logically impossible, the adjustments that could save humanity from disaster are not yet being enacted. ‘Prosperity without Growth’ draws on his own work and that of other economists, psychologists and social scientists to point the way to a new economic model that one could perhaps name ‘post-growth capitalism’.
His prescriptions for change include returning control of the money supply to the state, sharing of working hours, longer-term investment in services and natural capital, counter-cyclical spending by governments and more careful regulation of the financial markets. This is an important book.
Prosperity without Growth by Tim Jackson is published by Routledge. Price: £95 hardback; £15.99 paperback; £14.39 eBook.