Saturday 10 April 2010

Resilience: business as usual is not an option

I’m reviewing Tim Jackson’s book Prosperity without Growth, which says everything I’d like to say but much better. He argues that business as usual is not an option; he talks about peak oil, climate change and the continuing recession and says that prosperity without growth is a very useful trick to have up our sleeve when the economy is failing.

Tim Jackson is an economist, who understands our complex society very well. He’s pretty ruthless in sweeping away ‘Cinderella’ economies in which we all cosily swop skills for goods. He highlights the importance of people’s jobs as a measure that most of us understand as important in seeing ourselves as adding value to our communities and our households. He sees jobs and meaningful employment as key components of prosperity.

But we don’t have to have growth. Businesses today do need to protect jobs, but it’s a unique opportunity to sweep away short term thinking and replace it with considered policy that can deliver lasting prosperity. Tim defines prosperity as: a potential to flourish, within ecological and social limits. He’s seeking security for people’s livelihoods, equity – a fair society, and sustainable levels of resource.

With a sustainable economy such as Tim Jackson proposes, we could have a much better city.

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