Prosperity without growth: inspiration rewarded

Author: | Date: 4 January, 2017 | Category: JiE JiEReports | Comments: 0

Professor Tim Jackson has been awarded the 2016 Hillary Laureate for his widely respected work as an ecological economist at the University of Surrey.

Just before Christmas Professor Tim Jackson of the University of Surrey was presented with the 2016 Hillary Laureate. This was in recognition of his important research into the economics of sustainability. Tim is Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity having joined Surrey University in 1995 after five years at the Stockholm Environment Institute – and is an inspiration to Green Christian’s Joy in Enough programme. Over the years he has come to be at the forefront of international research on prosperity and sustainability, and has served as advisor to numerous government departments. But Tim is also a successful playwright having had a radio play accepted by the BBC while still a student. Since then he has achieved several prizes and awards for his writing.

Tim’s ground-breaking book as an ecological economist, Prosperity Without Growth – Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow, has just been revised and updated in the publication of a second edition. He wrote the book out of his involvement in a five-year programme ‘Redefining Prosperity’ with the Sustainable Development Commission which was chaired by Jonathon Porritt. Their brief was to report directly to the Prime Minister with a vision for the government of how there might be lasting prosperity on a finite planet.

Reflecting on that work, Tim has said: “If capital cannot change, then capitalism is lost. We have to reconceive investment so that it’s not about the relentless and mindless pursuit of consumption growth. We must invest in the idea of a meaningful prosperity, providing capabilities for people to flourish. Of course it is nonsense to speak of prosperity if people don’t have food, clothing and shelter – but prosperity goes beyond material concerns – it has social and psychological aims – family, friendship, commitment, society. Ultimately investment in the new economy has to protect the ecological assets on which our future depends.”

The Hillary Institute is based in New Zealand and was founded by Sir Edmund Hillary. Since 2009 the Institute has been addressing the implications of climate change for ‘Climate Equity’. Its focus is now shifting to ‘Capital for Change’. Professor Jackson is the Institute’s seventh Laureate.

Andrew Norman


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