The phrase is the title of important work by Tim Jackson, a British economist and environmentalist. Jackson’s work on prosperity without growth was originally published as a report for the Sustainable Development Commission, UK (2009) and then as a book (2017).
The core of the argument is that we can have “prosperity” without “growth.” For much of the world, economic growth has provided substantial benefits — better choices, richer lives, improved quality of life — but those less well off have not enjoyed these enrichments. And the prosperity has come at a very steep price, with adverse impacts on our climate and biodiversity and loss of natural resources. While the economy prospers, the greenhouse gases rise steadily and biodiversity dies off. As a result, Jackson and others have argued that we need to deal with the interdependency of prosperity and growth if the planet is to survive.
The approach argues that the economic model that has supported our prosperity is no longer up to the job. In some regards, the term, and Jackson’s work, overlaps the current focus on Green New Deal that lays out paths for a sustainable economy where the focus is on investment in energy security, low-carbon infrastructures and ecological protection. In both approaches, well-being becomes more important than financial wealth.
Some further ideas to explore on Prosperity Without Growth:
How do Jackson and supporters handle the problem of economic inequality? Are the lowest economic levels supposed to forego growth now that the richest have overused the earth’s resources?
Are there any significant differences between Prosperity Without Growth and Green New Deal?
How do Jackson and others measure “well-being”? Do you believe well-being is more important than wealth?
Tim Jackson, Prosperity Without Growth bit.ly/2O8Oxy1
Indigo Development, Prosperity Without Growth bit.ly/30Z9iBn
“Interview at Davos 2020: Tim Jackson on qualitative growth” in Podcast section of current issue of irish environment magazine (February 2020).
Andreas Novy, “Prosperity without Growth: Economics in the Service of a Good Life for All,” Green European Journal (12 Oct 2017). bit.ly/3108EDM