Managing without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster

Managing without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster

Paperback Advances in Ecological Economics

By (author) Peter A. Victor

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  • Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 229mm x 20mm | 431g
  • Publication date: 30 November 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Cheltenham
  • ISBN 10: 184844205X
  • ISBN 13: 9781848442054
  • Sales rank: 255,007

Product description

Peter Victor challenges the priority that rich countries continue to give to economic growth as an over-arching objective of economic policy. The challenge is based on a critical analysis of the literature on environmental and resource limits to growth, on the disconnect between higher incomes and happiness, and on the failure of economic growth to meet other key economic, social and environmental policy objectives. Shortly after World War II, economic growth became the paramount economic policy objective in most countries, a position that it maintains today. This book presents three arguments on why rich countries should turn away from economic growth as the primary policy objective and pursue more specific objectives that enhance well-being. The author contends that continued economic growth worldwide is unrealistic due to environmental and resource constraints.If rich countries continue to push growth, poorer countries, where the benefits are more evident, will lag. Rising incomes increase happiness and well-being only up to a level that has since been surpassed in rich countries. Moreover, economic growth has not brought full employment, eliminated poverty or reduced the burden of the economy on the environment. By combining a systems approach with more conventional economic analysis, Peter Victor provides new insights into a pressing issue at the frontier of ecological economics in a way that will appeal to a wide audience. Academics, students, activists and interested lay readers will find this well argued book illuminating and compelling.

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Review quote

'At last, Managing without Growth, a book that puts economics in its proper place within the real world and points the direction we must go in confronting the ecological crisis of the planet. As an economist, environmental studies professor Peter Victor is eminently qualified for the task. He examines some of our most fundamental assumptions and beliefs about the market, pricing, free trade and growth, prosperity and happiness that too often preclude a serious consideration of the environment and economy. His book couldn't be a more timely and important analysis of the destructive consequences of aspiring to endless growth and downloading the costs onto nature itself. He makes a powerful case for the need to work deliberately towards a steady state economy where the real world of the biosphere should set the limits to our activity. Victor's book should be at the basis for our discussion of these critical issues today.'- David Suzuki, broadcaster and activist'Peter Victor analyses the critical policy question of our time, how to manage our economy equitably and efficiently without growing beyond biophysical limits. He reasons carefully and rigorously, yet pulls no punches in drawing conclusions that some will consider radical. A superb book!'- Herman E. Daly, University of Maryland, US'Overcoming our addiction to economic growth is one of the most important challenges for the 21st century. Peter Victor's masterful summary of the history and fallacies of this particularly pervasive and increasingly dangerous addiction will be a great help in getting over it. A sustainable and desirable future requires clearly differentiating between A"biggerA" and A"betterA" and a recognition that in the overdeveloped West these two have parted ways. Peter Victor's book will help us slow down by design, not disaster, and understand how that slowing down will in fact increase our quality of life.'- Robert Costanza, The University of Vermont, US'Peter Victor's book is a carefully crafted argument for A"managing without growthA". It is not only an up-to-date survey of the latest thinking on energy, climate, and population, it offers practical policy responses to these challenges. This book is a must read for academics and policymakers concerned with environmental integrity and human wellbeing.'- John Gowdy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, US

Table of contents

Contents: Preface Prologue 1. The Idea of Economic Growth 2. Why Manage Without Growth? 3. Systems, Information and Prices 4. Limits to Growth - Sources 5. Limits to Growth - Sinks and Services 6. Limits to Growth - Synthesis 7. Scale, Composition and Technology 8. Economic Growth and Happiness 9. The Disappointments of Economic Growth 10. Managing Without Growth in Canada: Exploring the Possibilities 11. Policies for Managing Without Growth References Index