The UK Sustainable Development Commission's Prosperity without Growth report even contains a 12-step program for overcoming our addiction to economic growth. Personally, I think the first step should be to admit that the growth imperative is an addiction that it has made our society and unjust and unstable and ecologically unsustainable:
12 Steps To a Sustainable Economy
Building a Sustainable Macro-Economy
Debt-driven materialistic consumption is deeply unsatisfactory as the basis for our macro-economy. The time is now ripe to develop a new macro-economics for sustainability that does not rely for its stability on relentless growth and expanding material throughput. Four specific policy areas are identified to achieve this:
1. Developing macro-economic capability
2. Investing in public assets and infrastructures
3. Increasing financial and fiscal prudence
4. Reforming macro-economic accounting
Protecting Capabilities for Flourishing
The social logic that locks people into materialistic consumerism is extremely powerful, but detrimental ecologically and psychologically. A lasting prosperity can only be achieved by freeing people from this damaging dynamic and providing creative opportunities for people to flourish – within the ecological limits of the planet. Five policy areas address this challenge.
5. Sharing the available work and improving the work-life balance
6. Tackling systemic inequality
7. Measuring capabilities and flourishing
8. Strengthening human and social capital
9. Reversing the culture of consumerism
Respecting Ecological Limits
The material profligacy of consumer society is depleting natural resources and placing unsustainable burdens on the planet’s ecosystems. There is an urgent need to establish clear resource and environmental limits on economic activity and develop policies to achieve them. Three policy suggestions contribute to that task.
10. Imposing clearly defined resource/emissions caps
11. Implementing fiscal reform for sustainability
12. Promoting technology transfer and international ecosystem protection.