George Monbiot suggests that it is time for a government commission on post-growth economics which would invite contributions from those already investigating the possibility of moving towards a steady state economy: one that seeks distribution rather than blind expansion; that does not demand infinite growth on a finite planet.
Localise West Midlands is dedicated to advocating and building such an economy
Such a commission, Monbiot points out, should ask the questions that never get asked:
- Why are we wrecking the natural world and public services to generate growth when that growth is not delivering contentment, security or even, for most of us, greater prosperity?
- Why have we enthroned growth, regardless of its utility, above all over outcomes?
- Why, despite failures so great and so frequent, have we not changed the model?
As MP Zac Goldsmith says, introducing his excellent book, the rainbow-titled Constant Economy: how to create a stable society:
“Since the industrial revolution, our economies have grown at the expense of the natural world. But as pressure mounts on the earth’s finite resources, we can no longer pretend that business-as-usual is a realistic option.
“One way or another we will have to change. The longer we delay, the more our societies will be at the mercy of events and the harsher the eventual adjustments.
“There is an alternative: a constant economy. The constant economy operates at the human scale and, above all, it recognises nature’s limits. In a constant economy:
- resources are valued not wasted,
- where food is grown sustainably,
- goods are built to last,
- energy security is based on the use of renewable sources,
- and strong communities are valued as a country’s most effective hedge against social, economic and environmental instability”.
George Monbiot points out that, when the next crash comes, these questions will be inescapable.