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Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet Hardcover – October 16, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1844078943 ISBN-10: 1844078949 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (October 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844078949
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844078943
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'On a planet with finite resources, perpetual growth is not only impossible, but it is endangering the survival of present and future generations. I urge everyone to read Tim Jackson's brilliant and visionary book. He offers a detailed critique of the existing economic paradigm, and makes compelling suggestions for a shared and lasting prosperity.' - Bianca Jagger, Founder and Chair, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation; Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador; Member of the Executive Director's Leadership Council, Amnesty International, USA; Trustee, Amazon Charitable Trust

'In a world of massive inequality and limited resources, Tim Jackson asks the fundamental questions of what prosperity really is and how we can invest not just in material goods but in each other. This is an outstandingly intelligent and creative contribution to debate.' - The Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

'Tim Jackson offers a penetrating insight into our current state of affairs, and a thought-provoking pathway towards redesigning our future.' - Dame Ellen MacArthur

'The question of whether progressives should abandon growth or continue a champion it remains unresolved. But attempts to short-circuit that debate by dismissing de-growth as 'pie-in-the-sky' now face the demanding task of refuting this impressive work. I look forward to Tim Jackson's further elaboration of it.' - David Choat, Policy Progress blog

'One of the most outstanding pieces of environmental economics literature in recent years' - Le Monde

'A new movement seems to be emerging, and this superbly written book should be the first stop for anyone wanting a manifesto... In terms of a worldview for the new decade and beyond, this could well be the most important book you will read.' - The Guardian

'One of the best books of 2009' - Financial Times

'Bold and provocative...' - The New York Times

'In the teeth of the economic crisis, Jackson has written the most important book that could possibly be written now.' - James Gustave Speth, author of The Bridge at the Edge of the World

'This might well become as important for sustainable development as the Brundtland Report.' - Paul-Marie Boulanger, Director of IDD

'Prosperity without Growth's hugely encouraging and thrilling theme is that humanity can prosper without growth.In fact there is no other way left to us.' - Dr Robert Goodland, former Adviser to the World Bank Group, winner of World Conservation Union's Coolidge Medal of Honor, 2008

'Tim Jackson's book simply resets the agenda for Western society.' - Bernie Bulkin, SDC commissioner for Climate Change, Energy and Transport

'A must-read for anyone concerned with issues of climate change and sustainability - bold, original and comprehensive. We have to define prosperity and welfare differently from the past and separate them from economic growth measured as GDP: this work shows how we should set about the task.' - Anthony Giddens, Emeritus Professor, London School of Economics

'Jackson's cutting edge research has already begun to re-define the debate about how to achieve a future of human and planetary well-being. A must-read.' - Juliet Schor, author of Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth, and Professor of Sociology, Boston College

'Jackson goes after the complacency and dishonesty at the heart of contemporary politics, and provides a brilliant and compelling account of the crucial importance of the growth debate.' - Jonathon Porritt, former chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission

 'The best account of the financial crises and the state of society I have read in a long time. . . The beauty is that the change that is needed will make us happier.' - Clare Short, MP

'Zero growth is not only necessary, it is inevitable and will supercede Selfish Capitalism. In this brilliant analysis, Tim Jackson lays bare a system in crisis and lights the way forward.' - Oliver James, Author of Affluenza

'Tim Jackson provides a convincing case as to why conventional economic growth has not and cannot deliver prosperity. By showing why this is the case, we have the tools to start to build an economy based on sustainable development.' - Jan Bebbington, Professor of Accounting and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews

'A vital, much-needed, and timely work that deserves to be widely read, this is more than a brilliant treatise on the difficulties of developing a truly sustainable economy. It is also an important contribution to the increasingly urgent debate over the nature of the good life and the good society.' - Professor Colin Campbell, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of York

'Economic growth is both unsustainable on a finite planet and undesirable in its failure to continue to improve real welfare. What we need is true prosperity without growth. Why we must have this and how it can be achieved are compellingly explained in this essential work. It is not sacrifice to adopt the measures advocated. It is a sacrifice of our current and future well-being not to.' - Robert Costanza, Portland State University Professor of Sustainability and Director, Institute for Sustainable Solutions

'Provokes official thought on the unthinkable. No small accomplishment! I hope this gets the serious attention it deserves.' - Professor Herman Daly, author of Steady-State Economics and recipient of the Honorary Right Livelihood Award (Sweden's alternative to the Nobel Prize)

'What makes it unthinkable to stop growth even though it is killing us? Tim Jackson boldly confronts the structural Catch-22 that drives this madness and proposes in this lucid, persuasive, and blessedly readable book how we might begin to get off the fast track to self-destruction. Don't miss it!' - Dianne Dumanoski, author of The End of the Long Summer and co-author of Our Stolen Future

'Tim Jackson cuts through the official cant and wishful thinking to tell us what we have refused to admit we cannot preserve a habitable planet and pursue endless economic growth at the same time. In an era when all ideologies have failed, this book lays out the basis for the only viable political philosophy for the 21st century.' - Clive Hamilton, Author of Growth Fetish and Professor of Public Ethics, Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Australia (Forthcoming Earthscan title: Requiem for a Species)

'If you want to understand why current growth centric economics is not fit for purpose then read this book. This is the clearest and most important contribution to proving it's time to rethink growth economics in order to live the low carbon, poverty free and one planet life we all need and want.' - Alan Knight, Founder of Singleplanetliving

'Endless growth on a finite planet, or endless misery-spreading recession, both represent impossible futures. Here are some very powerful steps towards a possible, indeed a very hopeful, alternate outcome!' - Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

'We were delighted when Professor Jackson spoke at our July Meeting at Lloyds Banking HQ in London. He endorsed the feelings of many in the BCSD-UK that business as usual is not an option. His clear and concise challenge of what is considered convention is timely and highly appropriate.' - David Middleton, CEO, Business Council for Sustainable Development UK

'Prosperity without Growth says it all: informatively, clearly, inspiringly, critically and constructively, starting from the very troubled, unsustainable and unsatisfying economy we have today and providing a robust combination of suggestions for going toward a sustainable economy and fulfilling lives.' - Richard Norgaard, University of California, Berkeley

'Rising consumption may not be sustainable, due to climate change, energy shortfalls, and to social and psychological harms. In this compelling argument, Tim Jackson shows how urgent it is to think of what might replace it, and what to aim for.' - Avner Offer, Professor of Economic History at Oxford, author of Challenge of Affluence

'Stimulating and timely. This is the best attempt I've seen to build a trans-disciplinary critique of economic growth, with prescriptions based in economic theory.' - Ronan Palmer, Chief Economist, The Environment Agency

'Tim Jackson's book is a powerful intellectual challenge to an economic orthodoxy out of touch with the real world of physical limits, global warming and peaking oil reserves. It is refreshingly rigorous, honest and hopeful.' - Ann Pettifor, Fellow of the new economics foundation and co-author of the Green New Deal

'When it comes to resolving the tension between the environment and the economy the watchword should be 'less is more'. If you want to find out how we could all be healthier, wealthier and a lot wiser you should read this book.' - Molly Scott Cato, Reader in Green Economics, Cardiff School of Management and Economics Speaker for the Green Party

'We live in a finite world but with infinite demands. Human wants, political convenience and intellectual inertia trump planetary limits. Tim Jackson makes headway in setting signposts towards a more sustainable future.' - Camilla Toulmin, Director of the International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED)

'This is one of the most brilliant analyses I've seen. It is a thoughtful and action-oriented masterpiece, with an eye open to how to overcome resistance to the task ahead.' - Arnold Tukker, Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research

'Tim Jackson's book clearly demonstrates how our passion for consumption drives unsustainable results and it opens up the potential for a new model of consumerism that delivers a more sustainable world.' - Chris Tuppen, Chief Sustainability Officer, British Telecom

'This is an important work, well worth reading.' - Darcy Hitchcock, author of The Business Guide to Sustainability

'It's easy to lament the unsustainable nature of growth economics. It's slightly harder to re-imagine it on the other side. Hardest of all is to detail the transition, how you get from growth to a steady state without breaking the economy. That's the missing piece, and Tim Jackson has boldly stepped into the breach with a book that is clear, balanced and free of political bias. This isn't a blueprint for such a transition, but it does show that it is possible. For that, Prosperity Without Growth has got to be one of the most important books of the year.' - www.makewealthhistory.org

'[Tim Jackson] has done us a tremendous service in putting the debate into practical and comprehensible language, deferring some of the derivations and details to endnotes and appendices, and organizing his message into short self-contained chapters with well researched and documented source material. This book will be a widely read and influential basis for practical exposition of many of our underlying concerns and ideas for their solution to the broader public.' - Ecological Economics

'Jackson's analysis is truly unique in meticulously disentangling the interdependencies between the economic logic of production, the social logic of consumption, and the conflicting position of the state that keeps the unsustainable machinery of growth moving. Jackson also provides an original perspective that identifies leverage points for change that hold the prospect of eventual effectiveness. I have not encountered such a bright and insightful analysis since the path-breaking work of the Donella and Dennis Meadows and Herman Daly.' - Journal of Industrial Ecology

'Budget cuts remind us of our unsustainable current financial system, but the crisis also creates space to consider alternatives. GDP is still king, but in a recent lecture Prof Jackson described how senior civil servants are beginning to debate his alternatives. I think this book can provide us with a language to develop these long overdue debates ourselves.' - Rob Couch, Environmental Health News.

'A hard read but rewarding if you can stay the course.' - Judy Kirby, The Friend

'It is clear that the current pattern of economic growth is simply unsustainable. Jackson in Prosperity without Growth makes the case very clearly and convincingly.' - Fran Baum, Australian Options

'Presents a case against continued economic growth in developed nations and considers how human society can flourish within the ecological limits of a finite planet by reducing emphasis on growth' - Journal of Economic Literature, June 2010

'He recognises that to avoid enormous social disruption, it will take committed governance to manage these changes. I have no idea what critical mass of citizens will be needed to bring such governance. All I can do is to sign up with renewed faith.' - Phil Kingston, Renew

'Prosperity without Growth gets my 'twice read' honour...the book reads something like a novel...Finally, I asked my wife Angie to read the book and summarise it for me. Her conclusion? 'This is a good book that will change your life. Read it' - Vinod Bhatia, JIE

'The form is good - and so is the content. This innovative book is recommended to readers seeking insight into the governance and policy challenges of spreading prosperity while safeguarding the environment.' - getAbstract

'I thought the book was splendid. Jackson's writing is lucid and well organised. He has a gift for the telling sentence.' - Bryan Walker, Hot Topic

About the Author

Tim Jackson is Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey and Director of RESOLVE. He also directs the follow-on project: the Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group (SLRG).

 


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Customer Reviews

Like many others, I found this book to be rather thin.
James G. Broadwell
Tim Jackson's book Prosperity without Growth, examines this paradox in detail and presents a path toward its resolution.
Simply Curious
Existing work on this topic needs to be better described.
Steve

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By David Radcliff on August 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
We can't have our cake and eat it too, according to Tim Jackson. While many (or even most) people are convinced that "technology" and ever-increasing efficiencies will allow humankind, and especially us Rich World folks, to live green and still live large, this books demonstrates in well-documented detail the fallacy of this way of thinking. For instance, while we are getting more production for any carbon we emit into the atmosphere (25 percent more efficient globally in the past 40 years), our actual carbon output is up by 80 percent, as more people are finding more ways to burn fossil fuels--in effect overwhelming any impact from being more efficient.

Jackson is thorough in documenting our overuse of important materials such as copper, bauxite and iron ore, which he points out, if the rest of the world used like we do, world supplies would be exhausted within 20 years. He is also quick to note that not only are we exhausting the planet's physical storehouse and storage capacity for things like carbon, we are at the same time driving a large wedge between the haves and have-nots of the world. And more wealth won't solve these inequities: per capita income in the US is some $42,000 per year, yet the US has the largest income stratification of any rich nation.

He blames much of our problem on "novelty"--the pursuit of the new thing. This creates a throwaway society as product after product is "up-graded" for the next model; it also creates persistent anxiety among and between citizens as they strive for acceptance and supremacy via things.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Hazel Henderson on April 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A useful re-statement of all the good arguments made over the past 40 years for transforming public policy beyond erroneous economic models. Summarizes the debate and the conclusions on the need to move to low-entropy models based on better understanding of real human needs and goals of equitable, ecologically sustainable prosperity. Some strange omissions, including E. F. Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful (1973) in its heavily focused British literature and the ascribing of the European Commission and the European Parliaments Beyond GDP conferences in 2007 ([...]) to the OECD. A good introduction for those unfamiliar with this 40-year old debate.

Hazel Henderson, author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy and co-creator and author of the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Steve on July 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm delighted that the author addresses this topic. I have some suggestions for a second edition:
(1) The subtitle should become the title
(2) The title should NOT become the new subtitle. It is inconsistent for the author to request the development of an ecologically-aware macroeconomics and simultaneously imply that he already has such a macroeconomics in hand. We don't know whether 'prosperity without growth' is our best option - maybe we need generations of economic and population contraction (rather than mere stasis) to get us out of the horrible jam we've gotten ourselves into.
(3) All references to the financial crisis of 2008 should to be removed. The crisis of 2008 is not (and will never be) viewed as suggesting that there is a systemic flaw in the capitalist model. Instead, the crisis is viewed as an acute illness brought on by the development and deployment of a fatally flawed mortgage securitization pipeline by thoroughly corrupt and unprincipled financiers.
(4) In order to convince someone to do something, you can use a carrot or a stick. The carrot that the author dangles here is not particularly appealing (flourishing without growth), and the stick is practically non-existent, except for one meagre sentence toward the end of the book: "By the end of the century, our children and grandchildren will face a hostile climate, depleted resources, the destruction of habitats, the decimation of species, food scarcities, and almost inevitably war." (p. 203) In the second edition, 'the stick' needs to be much more developed, or we humans will just continue on our present path.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Erminio Di Lodovico on August 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a good book, well written. The first part, where the author makes the case for the unsustainablility of the "growth model" of the economy was very well written. It cannot be said the same about the second part of the book, which was how will be possible the revert and fix the problem. I understand perfectly that it was the most difficult part of the book, and that such a complex matter cannot be fully covered in one book, but I was expecting something more than wishful thinking.
Anyway, it is a book worth reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Vitols on February 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
Although, as a longtime environmentalist, I’m a member of the choir that this author is preaching to, I found myself resisting much of what he was saying, and I certainly could not imagine that a gung-ho, pro-growth, climate-change skeptic would be moved by the arguments presented in this book. My main takeaway was the realization of just how far apart people can be who are supposedly on the same team.

For one thing I had problems with the style and presentation of the book. The heavy use of sentence fragments made me feel I was reading an expanded PowerPoint presentation, and the pervasive presence of weasel-words like clearly is a sign of the weakness of the supporting arguments.

I was frustrated with the author’s fence-sitting. I was expecting to find, at a minimum, a clear alternative definition of prosperity, but this I did not get–at least, not that I can recall. Instead there were repeated statements to the effect that “our future idea of prosperity will have to include such things as . . .” But the author felt that coming down too definitely on exactly what should be done, or how, was beyond the scope of what one book–his book, anyway–could do.

Much of the book is concerned with providing suggestive evidence that alternative ways of measuring our economic activity and success are feasible. But too often, for my taste, this evidence consisted of the tentative findings of various social scientists, based on mushy things like opinion surveys. To me this is not “science” in any useful sense, for I have little doubt that, like expert witnesses in court cases, other soft scientists could be found to offer “evidence” supporting different or even contradictory conclusions.
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