Managing Without Growth

Managing Without Growth

Slower by Design, Not Disaster

Advances in Ecological Economics series

Peter A. Victor

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 wellbeing.

Preface and acknowledgements

Peter A. Victor

Subjects: environment, ecological economics, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy

Extract

In 2001 I received an invitation from Gideon Rosenbluth to collaborate on a book. Gideon had supervised my Ph.D. dissertation in the later 1960s and over the years we had kept in touch. The chance to work with Gideon again came just at the right time. I had just completed my term as the Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, having worked for many years as a consultant and public servant, and I was eager to get my teeth into something truly academic. We agreed on the general outline of what we wanted to do and produced three papers on managing without growth, out of which this book developed. Gideon let me write the book on my own but he read significant parts of it in draft and provided his customary insightful and critical comments. I am greatly indebted to him for his lasting guidance so generously given all those years ago at the University of British Columbia and for his continuing interest, advice and support that was so valuable in writing this book. Another economist whose influence on me has been considerable is Herman Daly, the leading contributor to and exponent of ecological economics. I have known Herman since the mid-1970s when he republished a paper of mine in his edited book Economics, Ecology, Ethics. Essays Toward a Steady-State Economy. Herman has helped shape my view of economies as subsystems of the biosphere and his influence on my thinking about these matters...