No 2116 Posted by fw, December 7, 2017
To access all other synopses from Prosperity without Growth, click on the Tab titled “Prosperity without Growth” — Links to All Posts in the top left margin of the Home page.
In this synopsis of a very short Section 4, titled “Is the economy of tomorrow a growth-based economy?”, Tim Jackson stakes out two propositions: 1) “We must reduce in absolute terms the material throughput of the economy”; and 2) “Some things within the economy must continue to grow.”
Regardless of what happens, economic activity will continue, and we must have a reliable measure of that activity. And, despite all its faults, the GDP will remain that reliable measure.”
First, in answer to the eco-modernists who favour “endless improvements in the material efficiency of the economy,” does any responsibly informed person harbour any doubts that perpetual material growth would compromise the future wellbeing of our planet’s ecological systems and, with them, all living creatures? Somehow, someway, sometime soon, to ensure our future prosperity, we must “reduce in absolute terms the material throughput of the economy.”
Second, Jackson contends that degrowth is not a proven foundation on which to build a post-growth macroeconomics. Some things within the economy must continue to grow – things in support of our social wellbeing, employment, natural assets, community resilience, environmental sustainability, and our sense of meaning and purpose.
He concludes: “… neither the absence of material growth nor the presence of immaterial growth resolves the dilemma of growth.”
Be that as it may, economic activity continues. And despite all its faults, GDP remains the most reliable measure of the scale of that economic activity:
“So the question we’re really asking is whether the [four] interventions identified in Chapter 8 lead to more growth or to less growth.”
In the next section, Jackson revisits investment.