One Word to Change the World

EnoughIsEnough_Final_LoRes-200x300This week we are happy to share a guest blog post by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill, coauthors of Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources.

Growth.  That’s the front-runner among strategies for improving society.  Never-ending economic growth is the universal plan emanating from classrooms, boardrooms, and press rooms.  If you stop for a second and listen, you can hear a professor, a pundit, or a politician prescribing economic growth as the pill to cure any ill.  Climate change?  Don’t worry—all we need to do is grow the economy and we’ll have the money to capture carbon emissions or re-engineer the climate.  Poverty?  Sit tight—all we need to do is grow the economy, and a rising tide will lift all boats to a mansion in the hills.

The only trouble is that the “cure” has become more of a curse.  We’ve had decades of economic growth in nations around the world, but some of our most profound social and environmental problems continue to intensify.  During the age of growth we’ve witnessed the loss of climate stability, the loss of biological diversity, and the loss of social cohesion.  At the same time, surveys indicate that all the additional production and consumption is failing to make us any happier.

It’s time to try a new strategy—the strategy of enough.  Suppose that instead of chasing after more stuff, more jobs, more consumption, and more income, we aimed for enough stuff, enough jobs, enough consumption, and enough income.  What if enough took the place of more as the organizing principle for the economy?

The policy and behavioral changes needed to make such a shift will undoubtedly be difficult to implement, but in contrast to infinite economic growth, they’re possible.  Unlike more, enough doesn’t attempt to circumvent the laws of physics.

Imagine an economy that can meet people’s needs without undermining the life-support systems of the planet.  Imagine an economy founded on fairness instead of foolishness.  Imagine taking action to begin the transition.  One thing’s for certain: the changes will only materialize when we achieve widespread recognition that enough is enough.

For more information on this book, click here.


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