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01 Mar
At the heart is a simple argument: developed economies are not naturally growing anymore, and we should therefore build sustainable societies which assume that our economies won’t grow, instead of pouring time and energy into forcing them to do so

The problem is the book can’t quite decide whether it is a technical breakdown of exactly what needs to be done in order to achieve this, or whether it’s a chest-thumping call-to-arms, outlining a utopian vision of a so-called ‘steady-state’ society.

The authors are certainly not afraid to ask the big questions though, such as ‘What is growth for?’ and even ‘What is an economy for?’ They argue that our planet has fixed limits to growth, that a post-growth future is inevitable, and that chaotic unplanned post-growth already has a name: Detroit.

Some of the more technical language may well get professional economists nodding sagely. Policies such as work sharing, renewable energy, and citizen’s incomes all make an appearance, and it’s these more tangible elements which help the authors’ visions come alive. A pledge of allegiance to public services, investment in public interest advertising, and an emphasis on promoting local production and consumption of necessities such as energy and food, outline how the book aspires to prioritise the communal good over individual gain. The challenge is how to spread this message beyond preaching to the converted, which, sadly, is what this book is. It is, however, a worthy and interesting read for anyone interested in how our society could, and indeed may ultimately have to, operate within fixed environmental limits.

THE POST-PROJECT GROWTH by Green House, edited by John Blewitt and Ray Cunningham, London Publishing Partnership, £12.99 (pb)/£8.48 (eBook)

This review was published in the March 2015 edition of Geographical Magazine

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