Enough is Enough

Enough is Enough is the title of a report of the first Steady State Economy Conference, held in Leeds, UK earlier this year. The
conference was organised by two non-profit organisations: Economic Justice for All and CASSE (the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy).

It had 2 main aims::

•    To raise awareness of the substantial volume of scientific evidence that shows that economic growth (i.e.continuously increasing production and consumption of goods and services) is (a) not environmentally sustainable, and (b) not improving people’s lives in wealthy countries like the UK.
•     To identify specific, implementable policies to achieve a steady state economy (i.e. an ecologically and socially responsible alternative to economic growth) within the UK.

Keynote speakers at the conference included:

• Peter Victor – Professor in Environmental Studies, York University (Canada)
• Tim Jackson – Professor of Sustainable Development, University of Surrey and author of “Prosperity Without Growth”
• Andrew Simms – Policy Director, nef (the new economics foundation)
• Dan O’Neill – European Director, CASSE

The report summarises the ideas generated by those attending a series of workshops at the conference, and provides insights into the structures and policies that would be needed in an economy where the goal is enough instead of more.

Enough is Enough explains the environmental limits to and diminishing social returns of economic growth and how a steady state economy might provide some strong pointers and clear practical alternatives.

How does it help those of us running sustainable small businesses?

This report, in particular the 10 page summary document, provides us with an easily accessible, down to earth framework from which to operate. It helps us to understand how and why the practical recommendations, such as:

1.    Capping the use of specific resources
2.    Implementing a non coercive population stabilisation policy
3.    Promoting employee ownership such as  cooperatives
4.    Reforming the monetary system
5.    Changing the way we measure progress
6.    Taking measures to ensure secure full employment
7.    Implementing “right size” profits rather than maximum profits at any cost.
8.    Challenging the values of consumerism
9.    Creating new forums to engage decision makers and opinion leaders in politics and the media.
10.    Democratising international organisations such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

would gradually generate a new economy based on sustainable values. So, I think we can use this knowledge to inform us in acting locally i.e. within the  boundaries of our individual businesses and business communities, whilst thinking globally and being mindful of how what we each contribute in our business lives serves the whole.

“The hope is that these ideas will contribute to the development of a new “macro-economics for sustainability”, and help us build a prosperous, non-growing economy in the UK.”
From Enough is Enough.

6 Responses to Enough is Enough

  1. Steve Marshall December 2, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    Sally, thanks for making this available to us. I’m always delighted to hear that more of us are actively questioning the unbridled growth assumption that underpins the eco-politics of our current existence. The more clues we can gather about how we unhook ourselves from the industrial/consumer experiment the better!

    Keep up with ‘the Great Work’ !

  2. Sally December 2, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    Great to read that support, Steve. Some of the small quantity of material being written and broadcast in the media on this topic seems to me to be treated with derision. We really cannot continue with the attitude that economic growth can continue indefinitely.

  3. Nitin December 6, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    Greetings from India! Treditionally Indians believed in curtailing the human needs so that mother nature is disturbed least. But now with the onslought of western culture for last 150 yrs, we also have become experts in running behind the materialistic wants and desires.
    But the good thing is, still in principle, we, 1 billion people, have our role models based on ascetics, thoes who live simple life. Problem is bringing that in day to day living.
    Grt to know that this is happening in west! All the best> keep it up!

  4. Sally December 10, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    Hello Nitin. I very much appreciate the Indian traditional perspective on living in harmony with mother nature. I have been studying Ayurveda and Yoga for the last 5 years. As gentle, sustainable systems for supporting us in caring for ourselves there is something really beautiful about these practices. The irony seems to be that the people of India have been subjected to some of the less desirable aspects of Western culture – the focus on materialism – whilst we in the West are just beginning to wake up to more meaningful ways of living, some of which originate in India!

  5. Rajiv December 13, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    Just changing the way I measure or define success could change the perspective.

    More appropriately, the title could be “when enough, is enough?”

  6. Sally December 14, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    Yes, good point Rajiv.

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