Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet” as Want to Read:
Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  979 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
Is more economic growth the solution? Will it deliver prosperity and well-being for a global population projected to reach nine billion? In this explosive book, Tim Jackson - a top sustainability adviser to the UK government - makes a compelling case against continued economic growth in developed nations.
No one denies that development is essential for poorer nations. But
Paperback, 276 pages
Published June 27th 2011 by Earthscan Publications (first published November 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Prosperity Without Growth, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Prosperity Without Growth

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Although, as a longtime environmentalist, I'm a member of the choir that this author is preaching to, I found myself resisting much of what he was saying, and I certainly could not imagine that a gung-ho, pro-growth, climate-change skeptic would be moved by the arguments presented in this book. My main takeaway was the realization of just how far apart people can be who are supposedly on the same team.

For one thing I had problems with the style and presentation of the book. The heavy use of sent
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
“And I am a weapon of massive consumption / And it’s not my fault it’s how I’m programmed to function,” “The Fear,” Lily Allen

NB: I have taken advantage of the “spoiler” tag to append notes and asides that don’t directly bear on this review. The reader may open them or not as he or she pleases.

Coming as it does on the heels of Derrick Jensen’s Endgame: Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization and Herman Daly’s Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development, reading Tim Jackson’s Prosperity
Remi van Beekum
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Als je kinderen hebt of wilt, geïnteresseerd bent in de toekomst, in politiek, of in economie, of als je gewoon verder denkt en kijkt dan de aankomende paar jaar, dan is dit boek een must-read.

Onze economie is gebaseerd op structurele groei, terwijl de aarde niet groeit. Dus tenzij we ineens op Mars gaan wonen, kan iedereen zien aankomen dat de grondstoffen op raken en het hele economische systeem in elkaar zal donderen (binnen enkele decennia zoals het nu lijkt). We zien dat met de huidige eco
This is an important, serious but ultimately disappointing book. Important because it grapples with the vital task of how to redefine economics in a world of limited resources and an ever more damaged climate. Serious, because it approaches the task stage by stage, confronting some of the important issues which any change of this magnitude must face. But disappointing, because it still leaves us dangling, wondering exactly what a society which adopted this completely different set of objectives ...more
Dec 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
An important and much cited book on sustainability circles. However, it covers little new ground. Much is based on the Club of Rome's [i]Limits to Growth[/i], some of the modeling is based on Herman Daly's [i]Steady State Economy[/i], both 40 years old. Sure, he introduces new data and confirms that the same disturbing trends continue. There are a few relevant studies cited that show material wealth is not the same as happiness, and his summary of what really matters to people more than money dr ...more
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

In these post-2008 times of perpetual recession and economic uncertainty, governments around the world remain obsessed with maintaining economic growth. Never again must we anger our free-market gods, and their fickle invisible hand, they say. But why is this? Why do our market economies require perpetual growth to be healthy? And why does our society assume greater wealth will bring us greater well-being? These are two fundamental questions Tim Jackson sets out to address in his popular-economi

Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Here is the review of the book that made me want to read it:

Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet by Tim Jackson

Jeremy Leggett, The Guardian, Friday 22 January 2010

"Tim Jackson states the challenge starkly: "Questioning growth is deemed to be the act of lunatics, idealists and revolutionaries. But question it we must." And that is the core mission of this perfectly timed book. Had he published it before the financial crisis, he would probably have been dismissed as another gre
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: socsci, politics, ecology

The goal is worthy, of course. In a finite world nothing can grow larger for ever... neither lemming nor human population numbers, neither global oil production nor GDP. In our case the end of growth seems likely to come sooner rather than later, given that we are already in ecological overshoot, about to be confronted with peak fossil fuels, and with catastrophic climate change a few decades away if we continue with Business As Usual. So, we can either think about what growth is su
Routledge Economics
This is a worthy addition to the roster of post-crisis "trade" economics books (see also Nouriel Roubini, Paul Mason, John Lanchester and others), concentrating as it does on the very concept that fostered economics as a discipline in the first place - that of resource scarcity.

There is now a considerable literature that argues for an alternative to Gross Domestic and Gross National Product as measures of wellbeing and this goes all the way back to Victor Anderson's Alternative Economics Indica
Chris Jensen
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I made the move from engineering to acting, I was fortunate to find a teacher early in my training that translated what can be a very airy-fairy touchy-feely language that often pervade acting technique into a clear and structured approach to acting training.

I have found the same in my experience with environmental and community groups issues.
"You can't pursue infinite growth on a finite planet", "consumerism and materialism are undermining our community and humanity", these are all things
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a worthy addition to the roster of post-crisis "trade" economics books (see also Nouriel Roubini, Paul Mason, John Lanchester and others), concentrating as it does on the very concept that fostered economics as a discipline in the first place - that of resource scarcity.

There is now a considerable literature that argues for an alternative to Gross Domestic and Gross National Product as measures of wellbeing and this goes all the way back to Victor Anderson's Alternative Economics Indica
Kevin Zeck
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too many big words strung together to form too many over long sentences. But that said, the authors make a couple of really good points. First, growth-based capitalism is like running on an ever accelerating treadmill. It's an inherently chaotic system we can't keep up with. Second, growth-based capitalism requires significant resource consumption, which is becoming problematic given the world's population and desire to emulate Western-lifestyles. Third, growth-based economics forces us to sacri ...more
Todd Wheeler
A challenging book and one not easily accessible as a casual read. The premise is stated early on:
"The possibility that humans can flourish, achieve greater social cohesion, find higher levels of well-being, and still reduce their material impact on the environment is an intriguing one." p.47

Yes indeed. However, it takes most of the book to get to that point. The author spends a great deal of time debunking the current model of capitalistic growth used in many Western developed countries as well
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tim Jackson tackles the problem of persuading us to take the obvious conclusion that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible seriously, by sending up the myth of decoupling - the decarbonisation of economic activity can't happen fast enough to prevent ecological disaster unless population and affluence stop increasing too. Inequality has to be addressed, both globally and within societies suffering from affluenza...

We need immense structural changes and a redefinition of prosperity; an
Oct 25, 2014 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this now. Exciting to find a book which addresses the single most important problem facing our civilization! Now, I want to recommend this to my (skeptical) friends, so I need to be prepared for their criticisms.

1. Foreword by Pavan Sukhdev. He throws a bunch of numbers around with no references. I'm a bit skeptical from the get-go (35% of Earth's surface is used for agriculture? Does he mean, Earth's surface excluding water, or what?), and then he drops the following number as the popu
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've ever heard that the planet has more people on it than it can support, we are running out of global resources, or that the problems of poverty and climate change cannot both be solved at once, this is an excellent book to read. It quantitatively shows how we cannot rely on some factors some economists use to dismiss the issues, such as productivity and efficiency improvements, or carbon decoupling.
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kunnen we economisch blijven groeien op een planeet met een eindige voorraad grondstoffen? Volgens Tim Jackson, hoogleraar duurzame ontwikkeling en hoofdadviseur duurzame economie van de Britse regering, staan we op het punt ons in een crisis te storten die we misschien niet meer te boven komen. De reden? We blijven ons richten op economische groei, tegen alle ecologische logica in. We zijn onherroepelijk op weg naar een klimaatverandering die zijn weerga niet kent. Kan het anders? In zijn boek ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book sells snake-oil for the ailments of the world and proves its efficiency through a scholarly slight-of-hand called circular reasoning. Most of its ideas are vague (e.g. ecological limits, eco-investments) so that anyone can interpret them however they choose, with a promise to explain all in more detail in later chapters or annexes. Once you reach those pages, conveniently spaced several chapters over, you run into statements like "this is but an outline" and "as I demonstrated before i ...more
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really, urge anybody with an interest in actuality and global developments to read this book. Being a book that paves the way for a 'new world' economy and society, it carefully avoids the pitfalls of being ideological and dogmatic by carefully examination of current affairs and affluent use of existing literature and data. In this way, Tim Jackson examines the current economic system and consumerist society, it's trends and limits. Without becoming fully academic, the writer manages t ...more
Matthew Dahlhausen
Underwhelming. Significant gaps.

Tim Jackson, with the UK Sustainable Development Commission, published 'Prosperity without Growth' to summarize the commission's findings for the general public. The intent of the work is to raise awareness for alternative economic models in the wake of the financial collapse. The book reads as a summary report with moderate depth and extensive references.

The book does a good job of describing why alternative economic models are necessary. The first reason are ec
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eine interessante Zusammenfassung von diversen Gedankespielen und Analysen.
Manchmal war es mir zu trocken, zu utopisch oder zu theoretisch aber in Summe werden hier viele Gedanken aufgegriffen die ich mir auch schon mal in der Einen oder anderen Form gemacht hatte. Einiges wird nicht zuende gedacht anderes ist mir zu drastisch, in Summe aber ein guter Ansatz um vielleicht zu einer "besseren Welt" zu kommen.
Peter Kralka
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of detail and information on measuring Prosperity. A long read for me as I'm not an economist or work in the financial arena or a student. I entered the draw in hopes of the book helping me make decisions making correct and continuing choices for my retirement portfolio. By and large it did.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, because it discussed the economic implications of a society that is not driven by growth and its unsustainable ecological and social consequences. The book was easy to read and full of references to research. Highly recommended.
Keith Akers
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the book Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources before reading this and saw a generous reference to "Prosperity Without Growth," and decided to take a look. The two books have a lot in common with each other, and share the same basic viewpoint, but both talk about the subject in different ways. Tim Jackson, like Dietz and O'Neill, has gotten an impressive array of endorsements, such as Bill McKibben, Herman Daly (who wrote forewords for both books) ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“People are persuaded to spend money we don't have, on things we don't need, to create impressions that won't last, on people we don't care about.”

― Tim Jackson
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The disclaimer first: this was a free copy received through a Goodreads Giveaway. And very pleased I was too as I had the first edition on my radar too get around to at some point.

Not having read the original I can't say what has been updated, but there is a significant influence from, and commentary on, the recent financial crisis.

Overall I really liked this. I think many people would suspect that this would be some kind of anti-capitalist rant: let's all grow our own food, live in yurts, knit
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Tim Jackson discusses the complete unsustainability of the current economic paradigm and the kind of changes that could put us back on track towards sustainability.

We live on a planet with finite resources. Known reserves of many fossil fuels, metals and minerals are running low - and our use of these resources is increasing quickly as the human population shoots up towards 9 billion and many of those people aspire to levels of affluence similar to those found in the Western world
Leland Beaumont
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
We are already at or near the ecological limits to growth of our magnificent planet. At the same time the economies of affluent nations, as presently conceived, require continuous growth to avoid collapse into recession and high unemployment. Tim Jackson’s book Prosperity without Growth, examines this paradox in detail and presents a path toward its resolution.

A first step is to examine our definitions of prosperity. A shift away from prosperity pursued as opulence — constantly acquiring new mat
An interesting book dealing with one of the most important issues humans face: should we protect the only planet we (and countless other organisms) live on, or should we just live fast and die young (or at least before any of the unpleasant consequences of our resource-guzzling obsession with monetary wealth effects us)? It's a conundrum many of us fall foul of every day, in many different situations, preferring to take the easy, short-sighted but quickly gratifying route rather than the less ea ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it

"The truth is that there is as yet no credible, socially just, ecologically sustainable scenario of continually increasing incomes for a world of 9 billion people. In this context, simplistic assumptions that capitalism’s propensity for efficiency will allow us to stabilize the climate or protect against resource scarcity are nothing short of delusional."

So what do we do? Tim Jackson argues that GDP is an entirely inadequate measure of prosperity and well-being and that, self-evidently, infinite
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality
  • Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth
  • Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development
  • The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World
  • The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
  • The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability
  • The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience
  • Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
  • The Future of Money
  • Debunking Economics - Revised and Expanded Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned?
  • The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age
  • The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community
  • Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning
  • Natural Capitalism
  • World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse
  • The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems
  • The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment
  • Storms Of My Grandchildren: The Truth About The Climate Catastrophe And Our Last Chance To Save Humanity
“The overriding aim of this book is to seek viable responses to the biggest dilemma of our times: reconciling our aspirations for the good life with the constraints of a finite planet.” 2 likes
More quotes…