Transition to a NEW Economy It’s Time to get our MOJO BACK!
The world recently faced recession….., climate change, inequity and more,Tim Jackson delivers a piercing challenge to established economic principles, explaining how we might stop feeding the crises and start investing in our future.
About Tim Jackson: Economist Tim Jackson studies the links between lifestyle, societal values and the environment to question the primacy of economic growth. Tim Jackson currently serves as the economics commissioner on the UK government’s Sustainable Development Commission and is director of RESOLVE — the Research group on Lifestyles, Values and Environment. After five years as Senior Researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute, he became the Professor of Sustainable Development at University of Surrey, and was the first person to hold that title at a UK university.
He founded RESOLVE in May 2006 as an inter-disciplinary collaboration across four areas — CES, psychology, sociology and economics — aiming to develop an understanding of the links between lifestyle, societal values and the environment. He is also the author of the influential book Prosperity Without Growth. He serves as chair to the ‘New Energy Solutions’ Advisory Board for Danish investment company BankInvest and is associate researcher on a Templeton Foundation project on ‘The Pursuit of Happiness.’
Tim is also an award-winning playwright, and his environmental drama The Cry of the Bittern won a Public Awareness of Science Drama Award in 1998. His most recent play, Variations, won the 2007 Grand Prix Marulic and is longlisted for the 2008 Sony Drama award.
Transcript excerpt from Video above It’s a different kind of enterprise for a new economy. It’s a form, if you like, of ecological altruism — perhaps something along those lines. Maybe it’s that. Whatever it is, whatever this new economy is, what we need the economy to do, in fact, is to put investment back into the heart of the model, to re-conceive investment. Only now, investment isn’t going to be about the relentless and mindless pursuit of consumption growth. Investment has to be a different beast.
Investment has to be, in the new economy, protecting and nurturing the ecological assets on which our future depends. It has to be about transition. It has to be investing in low-carbon technologies and infrastructures. We have to invest, in fact, in the idea of a meaningful prosperity, providing capabilities for people to flourish.
And of course, this task has material dimensions. It would be nonsense to talk about people flourishing if they didn’t have food, clothing and shelter. But it’s also clear that prosperity goes beyond this. It has social and psychological aims — family, friendship, commitments, society, participating in the life of that society. And this too requires investment, investment, for example, in places, places where we can connect, places where we can participate, shared spaces, concert halls, gardens, public parks, libraries, museums, quiet centers, places of joy and celebration, places of tranquility and contemplation, sites for the “cultivation of a common citizenship” in Michael Sandel’s lovely phrase.
An investment — investment, after all, is just such a basic economic concept — is nothing more nor less than a relationship between the present and the future, a shared present and a common future. And we need that relationship to reflect, to reclaim hope.
So let me come back, with this sense of hope, to the two billion people still trying to live each day on less than the price of a skinny latte from the cafe next door. What can we offer those people? It’s clear that we have a responsibility to help lift them out of poverty. It’s clear that we have a responsibility to make room for growth where growth really matters in those poorest nations. And it’s also clear that we will never achieve that unless we’re capable of redefining a meaningful sense of prosperity in the richer nations, a prosperity that is more meaningful and less materialistic than the growth-based model.
So this is not just a Western post-materialist fantasy. In fact, an African philosopher wrote to me, when “Prosperity Without Growth” was published, pointing out the similarities between this view of prosperity and the traditional African concept of ubuntu. Ubuntu says, “I am because we are.” Prosperity is a shared endeavor.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein