I've read the book that stimulated a friend to write this letter, which he copied to me and I considered it relevent to the nature conservation theme of this Blog so here it is.
"Prosperity Without Growth"
A letter to the "Economist" magazine written by Dr Michael J. Parr.
To: the Editor
In his 2009 book, Prosperity without Growth - Economics for a Finite Planet, Tim Jackson made an extraordinarily compelling case against continued economic growth in developed countries. Jackson, who is Professor of Sustainable Development (University of Surrey) presents the mounting evidence that continued and increasing consumerism in the major economies is destined for disaster because we live in a finite world. Common sense tells us growth cannot continue indefinitely, and indeed, Prof. Jackson describes how our recent problems relate to the collapse of the ecosystems sustaining our western economies due to ever-rising consumerism.
In his analysis, Jackson outlines how human society can not only survive, but flourish, within the clear limits of our finite Earth. Obviously, change is essential for our long-term survival on this planet but politicians, the media and governments still continue to promote, discuss and apparently fully accept economic growth as the only way forward. It seems to me we have this state of affairs because
1) politicians and governments are too afraid to tackle these critical issues for obvious reasons, and
2) the general public is simply not aware of the huge and increasing difficulties caused by consumerism and economic growth.
At the present time some large businesses, for example IBM and Unilever, are making some of the right noises, but for real change to occur there is a vital need for very open, inclusive acceptance of the problem by populations and governments.
Therefore, my call is for Prof. Jackson's thesis to be fully aired and discussed on national TV, radio, the Web and in the press. Until this is done, we have no hope of a new and necessary system of eco-economics to supersede our present failing growth option. Could I start the ball rolling by asking economists why many of them appear to have their heads in the sand? Could they logically explain why Jackson's analysis is flawed, and most importantly, what alternative would they like to propose?
Dr Michael J. Parr