Sustainability Research Institute

Postgrowth and Wellbeing: Challenges to Sustainable Welfare

13.11.2017 - 09:33

Milena Büchs and Max Koch have just published a new Palgrave Pivot book “Postgrowth and Wellbeing: Challenges to Sustainable Welfare”.

In recent years, debates about the limitations of economic growth have become more widespread. Ecological economists argue that we cannot decouple environmental impacts from economic growth in absolute terms and that, therefore, we need to move to a postgrowth economy, at least in the developed world, if we want a chance to stay within “planetary boundaries”. At the same time, several prominent economists have pointed to a set of socio-economic factors inherent in current systems of developed countries which limit the capacity of economic growth.

For these reasons, limits to economic growth need to be taken seriously, but what are potential implications of zero growth or even degrowth for human wellbeing? In our book we critically discuss some of the optimistic assumptions about wellbeing amongst “postgrowthers”.

We emphasise the extent to which the generation of various dimensions of wellbeing is currently systematically linked to a growth based economy. Possible ingredients for a successful transition are also discussed.

Read a brief Q&A piece which summarises our booked published in Palgrave’s Social Science Matters here