Prosperity without Growth by Tim Jackson

Perhaps at this very moment you are lusting after an iPhone 12 Pro? How about a new BMW Series 7 in Ruby Black Metallic finish? A new luxury fitted kitchen? Expensive holidays in exotic locations that take a huge amount of jet fuel to get to? The very latest designer label clothes, handbags, shoes?

The 1001 gadgets that seem to have become an indispensable accompaniment to modern life? Is the lust and desire which drives you forward making you work harder over longer hours? Are you nailed to the deck with debt? Are you anxious that without all these trappings your friends and neighbours will think less of you? Worse still, are you anxious that you’re children at school must have the latest, ‘coolest’ kit just to keep up? Console yourself. You’re one of millions of victims caught in a web of turbo-capitalist consumerism. Those others, too, are worried what you think of them.

Sadly, all this consumerism comes at a very heavy price. Tim Jackson (, a top sustainability adviser to the UK government) – here makes a compelling case against continued economic growth in developed nations. No one denies that development is essential for poorer nations. But Jackson argues that in advanced economies there is mounting evidence that ever-increasing consumption adds little to human happiness and may even impede it. More urgently, he says it is now clear that the ecosystems that sustain our economies are collapsing under the impacts of rising consumption. Unless we can radically lower the environmental impact of economic activity we will have to devise a path to prosperity that does not rely on continued growth.

Take time out from what Wordsworth called ‘getting and spending‘ in an extraordinarily prescient sonnet of 1802. Don’t lay waste your powers. Read Tim Jackson’s book instead. Enquire at your local library.


The World is too much with us  (1802)

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.


288 pages in Routledge

First published 2009

ISBN 978-1849713238

Professor Tim Jackson

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