Tim Jackson, "Post Growth: Life after Capitalism" (Polity, 2021)


I spoke with Prof. Tim Jackson about his latest book: Post Growth, Life after Capitalism, published by Polity Books in 2021.

The book starts with a reflection on the event of the past few months. The success in 2019 of the school strikes for climate, the attention that Greta Thunberg received even in Davos, and the arrival of the pandemic that changed our priorities. Even the 2009 crisis challenged the degrowth movement when we experienced the consequences of the recession. I have asked how do we keep the focus on sustainability?

This book and his work in general are about the need for a change in our economic paradigms. But we are still tied to old ideas and institutions. Keynes that many progressive politicians and economists frequently refer to, cannot be really claimed to be offering revolutionary ideas for our times. Still, the book mentions an essay by Keynes from 1930 where he appears clearly interested in what should come after the immediate actions (growth) needed to overcome the great depression.

We discussed how the shift in economic paradigm can follow different patterns in the rich nations and in the developing ones. Finally, referring to the final chapter, 'Dolphins in Venice', we talked about what could happen at the end of the pandemic to our cultural and consumption preferences.

Capitalism is broken. The relentless pursuit of more has delivered climate catastrophe, social inequality and financial instability—and left us ill prepared for life in a global pandemic. Weaving together philosophical reflection, economic insight and social vision, Tim Jackson’s passionate and provocative book dares us to imagine a world beyond capitalism—a place where relationship and meaning take precedence over profits and power. Post Growth is both a manifesto for system change and an invitation to rekindle a deeper conversation about the nature of the human condition.

Dr Tim Jackson holds degrees in mathematics (MA, Cambridge), philosophy (MA, Uni Western Ontario) and physics (PhD, St Andrews). He is Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity and Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey in the UK.

Andrea Bernardi is Senior Lecturer in Employment and Organization Studies at Oxford Brookes University in the UK.

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