24 Oct 2008

My report on recession for the SDC

Well another quarter of negative growth and the recession is official.

I was somewhat surprised to be asked to provide a 'think piece' for the government's Sustainable Development Commission looking at how a no growth post-capitalist economy might work.

Very ambitious project! The SDC are looking at the whole issue of redefining prosperity, I am interested in prosperity without capitalism because I don't believe ever increasing growth is possible or desirable. Their remit is rather wider or more narrow depending on your perspective...delinking growth and environmental damage and looking at different ways of creating prosperity. There are a number of very interesting pieces of work on their website, all downloadable for free.

Ecosocialism and social sharing are my alternatives.

Clearly even in March when I wrote the report (I was quite pushed by ill health at the time) recession fuelled by a derivatives crisis and/or rising commodity prices was looking very likely

Confronting Structure was about taking the arguments against continuing growth seriously and thinking through the consequences. If the economy no longer grows, or grows at a much slower rate, what happens to – unemployment, tax revenue, the ability to repay debt and pay interest, company profits and economic competitiveness? Can we imagine any government pursuing this line of thinking? Or will they be forced to because of economic pressures creating long-term recession?

My contribution 'Prosperity without growth, economics after capitalism' can be read here.

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