This timely book explores all aspects of sustainability: economic, environmental and social. The underlying theme pursued throughout the book is that economic growth, whilst bringing significant benefits to society, can no longer continue in its present form. Indeed, by ignoring social and natural limits, it has become unsustainable. The Economics of Enough is a devastating critique of recent economic policymaking that has been driven by political parties prepared to win votes by offering short-term solutions to long-term problems.
The book carefully reviews a vast literature relating to current multiple crises concerning our deteriorating environment, growing social inequality and the mounting burden of public debt. In providing an overarching critique of the most important debates affecting Government policy on what are the critical issues of our time, the Economics of Enough draws upon all the main disciplines of the social sciences and distills the latest evidence from academic research. The enquiry ranges from the study of happiness (psychology) to the trend of growing social inequality(sociology); from the depletion of natural capital (environmental economics)to the burgeoning problem of debt(political economy).
An ambitious and bold study which should become compulsory reading for all politicians, particularly the deficit deniers. By cutting through the ill-considered and sterile arguments of populist politicians, short-term fixes are banished in favour of long-term, sustainable solutions. In this context, the current political debate about growth versus austerity offers a false prospectus; in the West, we have reached the limits of debt-fuelled growth which has turned out to be a mirage, its proponents morally as well as economically bankrupt. Sustainability dictates a new approach based on rebalancing the economy and an end to public excess. To be fair to our children and the environment, long-term policies must be carefully devised to manage all our resources and ensure that future prosperity is not mortgaged to solve existing problems.
In the second part of the book, a radical re-assesment of the values and institutions is made, outlining the challenges that must be confronted to build a sustainable economy. In the final chapter a manifesto for achieving this is set out. The Economics of Enough argues that these challenges can be met, providing a hopeful message for ending the perpetual crisis that seems to have engulfed Governments in the West. For this reason, Diane Coyle's study offers a welcome and relevant critique of the current crisis.
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