Handbook on Growth and Sustainability
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Handbook on Growth and Sustainability

Edited by Peter A. Victor and Brett Dolter

This Handbook assembles original contributions from influential authors such as Herman Daly, Paul Ekins, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Jeroen van den Bergh, William E. Rees and Tim Jackson who have helped to define our understanding of growth and sustainability. The Handbook also presents new contributions on topics such as degrowth, the debt-based financial system, cultural change, energy return on investment, shorter working hours and employment, and innovation and technology. Explorations of these issues can deepen our understanding of whether growth is sustainable and, in turn, whether a move away from growth can be sustained. With issues such as climate change looming large, our understanding of growth and sustainability is critical. This Handbook offers a broad range of perspectives that can help the reader to decide: Growth? Sustainability? Both? Or neither?
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Chapter 5: A new economics for our full world

Herman Daly


In yesterday’s empty world, growth made sense; in today’s full world, physical growth of the economy encroaches on the ecosphere to a degree that we sacrifice natural services that at the margin are more valuable than the production services added by growth. The optimal scale of the economy relative to the ecosphere is thus exceeded. Growth becomes uneconomic. What are the reasons for believing that this is true? What are the consequences for economic theory, and for policy? What has blocked our recognition of this epochal change in the pattern of scarcity? Finally, what values and ethical principles are required to enable withdrawal from our addiction to growth?

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