Jackson, a professor of sustainable development at Surrey university, has thought hard about the subject. His prose is lucid and lively, and many of his policy prescriptions are sensible....Indeed, the idea that "there is no more work to be done" would be ludicrous. But that's not the same idea as the idea that we need to make up wasteful things to do just to keep people in jobs.
Yet for all these strengths, his argument is flawed...
His only idea that could put the brake on growth would be cutting working hours. Here he takes the economist’s famous “lump of labour” fallacy – the idea that there is only a fixed amount of work to do that has to be shared round – and suggests it should be a goal of policy. Yet in anything other than a perfect utopia, the idea that there is no more work that needs doing is ludicrous.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Prosperity without Lumps
Ed Crooks reviews Prosperity Without Growth in the Financial Times: