No 2101 Posted by fw, November 17, 2017
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Below is a repost in full of Tim Jackson’s very short Section 6 titled “The economy of tomorrow”. In essence, it is a summary of the four first principles he presented in previous sections of Chapter 8: Enterprise as service; Work as participation; Investment as commitment; and Money as a social good.
Jackson contends that from these four simple first principles, the very foundations for the economy of tomorrow can be derived. He emphasizes: “Ultimately, all of them flow from an understanding that the economy is not an end in itself but a means towards prosperity.”
The boom and bust economy of the last century has created financial instability, increased social inequality and led to environmental degradation and resource depletion. Austerity has exacerbated these dangers. Chasing prosperity through over-financialized hyper-consumerism has sown the seeds of its own collapse.
None of this is inevitable. The dimensions of a post-crisis economy can be derived from simple first principles. Enterprise as service, work as participation, investment as a commitment to the future and money as a social good: these four principles provide the foundations for transformation. Ultimately, all of them flow from an understanding that the economy is not an end in itself but a means towards prosperity.
The concept of service provides for a new vision of enterprise: not as a speculative, profit-maximizing, resource-intensive division of labour, but as a form of social organization embedded in the community, working in harmony with nature to deliver the capabilities that allow us to prosper.
Work is vital to those capabilities. What we’ve identified here is the existence of a ‘sweet spot’ of good work, with multiple benefits for society, in the economies of care, craft and creativity. We can’t live entirely from these sectors. But they hold the key to expanding the quality of our lives. And we can usefully import the principles we find there into other economic sectors.
Investment embodies our hopes for the future. What we invest here and now determines how our lives (and our children’s lives) will go in the future. A clear and definable investment portfolio emerges from the analysis in this chapter. Its aim is to build, nurture and sustain the assets on which tomorrow’s prosperity depends.
Making all this work depends on having a financial system that is fit for purpose. Improving the ability of ordinary people to invest their savings responsibly, in ways that benefit both their own community and a wider environment, is paramount. But deeper and more decisive changes are also needed. Reforming the money system is not just the most obvious response to the financial crisis. It is an essential foundation for the economy of tomorrow.