Edited by Haydn Washington and Paul Twomey
There is a fundamental denial at the centre of why we have an environmental crisis – a denial that ignores that endless physical growth on a finite planet is impossible. Nature provides the ecosystem services that support our civilisation, thus making humanity unavoidably dependent upon it. However, society continues to ignore and deny this dependence.
A Future Beyond Growth explores the reason why the endless growth economy is fundamentally unsustainable and considers ways in which society can move beyond this to a steady state economy. The book brings together some of the deepest thinkers from around the world to consider how to advance beyond growth. The main themes consider the deep problems of the current system and key aspects of a steady state economy, such as population; throughput and consumerism; ethics and equity; and policy for change. The policy section and conclusion bring together these various themes and indicates how we can move past the growth economy to a truly sustainable future.
A Future Beyond Growth will be of great interest to students and scholars of economics, sustainability and environmental studies in general.
About the Editors
Haydn Washington is a Visiting Fellow in Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies (Science) at UNSW (University of New South Wales) Australia. Paul Twomey is a Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Built Environment at UNSW (University of New South Wales) Australia.
"there has been a proliferation of new economy terminology, from green growth to degrowth, the blue economy, the restorative economy. As a co-founder of the Postgrowth Institute, I tend to hang my hat on the catch-all term postgrowth, but there are distinctive things about the steady state economy that the book wants to highlight. The first of these is population, and the book opens with four chapters on the topic. [...] It’s been a blind spot in much of the debate and its inclusion here, in some detail and with multiple perspectives, is very helpful. [...] There are things missing from the book. There’s very little on inequality, which is a vital aspect of the transition. The authors acknowledge the absence. Also missing is anything from a development perspective. Obviously the idea of the steady state is most pertinent to over-developed countries, but unless lower income countries have an alternative vision of development, all the same mistakes will be repeated. [...] If you’re following the postgrowth debate [...] then you’ll want to dip into A Future Beyond Growth."
Table of Contents of A Future beyond Growth
- Foreword: Setting Things Straight for the Steady State (Brian Czech)
- Introduction: Why the growth economy is broken (Haydn Washington)
Section 1: Population – The heresy of numbers
- A population perspective on the steady state economy (Herman Daly)
- Population – better not bigger (Ian Lowe)
- Nine Population Strategies to Stop Short of 9 Billion (Robert Engelman)
- Choosing a Planet of Life (Eileen Crist)
Section 2: Throughput and consumerism – a key elephant in the room
- Re-engineering Cultures to Create a Sustainable Civilization Erik (Assadourian)
- Sustainable business – what should it be? Circular economy and the ‘business of subversion’ (Helen Kopnina)
- Peak Mining – stepping down from high resource use (Simon Michaux)
Section 3: Key aspects of a steady state economy
- What is the steady state economy? (James Magnus-Johnston)
- The Physical Pathway to a Steady-State Economy (Graham Turner)
- Relating the steady state economy to the circular, blue and green economies (Paul Twomey and Haydn Washington)
- The relationship between SSE and economic stability, social equity and ecological sustainability (Frank Stilwell)
- The Genuine Progress Indicator: An indicator to guide the transition to a steady-state economy (Phillip Lawn)
- Capitalism and the Steady State: Uneasy Bedfellows (Joshua Farley)
Section 4: Ethics and a ‘message from the future’
- Sustainable Development vs. Sustainable Biosphere (Holmes Rolston)
- ‘Message from the future’ (Geoff Mosley)
Section 5: Policy for change
- Degrowth as a transition strategy (Robert Perey)
- Strategies for transition to a ‘future beyond growth’ (Mark Diesendorf)
- Conclusion: The endless growth myth – simplicity and complexity (Haydn Washington and Paul Twomey)