The growing realisation

Tim Jackson has just published a new book, Post Growth – Life After Capitalism, examining our disastrous obsession with growth in a finite world and how we might escape it.  This may sound familiar to those who read his best-selling 2009 book, Prosperity without Growth but this is a very different type of book.

Much shorter for a start at under 200 pages of main text and a totally different style aimed at a broader audience. The Mint caught up with him to find out what his inspiration was for this new book.

Tim Jackson

Tim Jackson is Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP). and Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey in the UK. CUSP builds on …

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One Comment on “The growing realisation”

  1. The correct, philosophically real, definition of money is the key to understanding the reason why growth is a sacrament of our economic system.

    Real money represents work done, and it is limited by the laws of thermodynamics – which as a result limit our economics.
    The money we USE represents debt-with-interest. It is limited by our gullibility. As a planet we are more than 260 Trillion in debt (depends who measures).

    Applying the first law to economics and money we can translate “Energy cannot create more Energy” to “Money cannot create more Money”.

    When extended to the way money interacts with the world we see that it can be restated as “Ownership cannot make money”. In any form, rent-seeking is an attempt to break laws that cannot ever be broken; we break something else, somewhere else and usually belonging to someone else instead.

    It turns out that to the extent that we remove growth the ownership based income becomes theft and transfer of wealth from the working class to the owning class – including from future generations. Growth is, as a result, necessary for a system based on this wrong definition of money, to remain stable.

    The definition of ownership itself, as having self-propagating benefits – also fails. You do not own the solar energy that falls on your roof. Humans evolved to cooperate and our societies compete in evolutionary terms, as groups. We share within those groups, and so we see that the Bible, the Koran and the Tanakh all inveigh against interest and rent-seeking behavior within those groups. The laws of physics are less restrictive and more comprehensive, but reach that same result.

    The wrong definitions are thousands of years old. The problems they cause are NOT solvable without fixing the definitions – yet applying the definitions, despite their simplicity, is immensely complex. No more taxes except for an ownership income tax. A UBI is a REQUIRED part of the system of putting money into circulation – *and the sharemarket is not*. The immense power of the wealthy over our governments is a function of the immense wealth that has become concentrated in our pursuit of the delusional capitalism that Adam Smith created on the foundations of these incorrect definitions.

    I’ll have to try to get this book, but to correct the problem needs new definitions, it needs re-thinking of the profit motive itself. It needs us to FIX our obsession with scarcity based pricing and the way supply and demand are currently used to create that “invisible-hand” that, in combination with COVID and intellectual property laws, is committing genocide on the Indian subcontinent today.

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