Joy in Enough main page
Ever felt frustrated by the constant talk of economic growth on the main news media? Ever wondered how we can have everlasting growth on a finite planet? Ever wished there was an alternative way to organise our economy that respected the restraints of finite resources and human and planetary well-being? Well, surprise, surprise, some people are thinking and planning an alternative economic strategy – and they’re not loonies, but respected economists. It’s just that you never hear them on the Today programme or read their thinking in the mainstream newspapers. Join with GC as we seek to empower ordinary people to take back the economy and to understand what the alternatives are and to seek a role the Church can play in this.
Our current economic system is busting the limits of creation. Like a cancer it is putting all of life at risk. It’s stopped making people any happier. To turn around a well-known phrase – it’s a stupid economy!
Within Green Christian we’re reading and learning from people like Tim Jackson (Economics Commissioner on the Sustainable Development Commission before it was disbanded in 2010 and author of Prosperity without Growth), Dan O’Neill (lecturer in ecological economics at the University of Leeds and co-author with Rob Dietz of Enough is Enough), and the work of the New Economics Foundation.
We’re calling this project ‘Joy in Enough’ to celebrate the sense of flourishing and well-being that comes from living lives freed from the pressure to consume. The old economy of air miles, bottled water and casino capitalism etc, will be very much constrained, but the quality of our lives will be enhanced – more time and opportunity for the things that matter, like craft, culture, sport and friendship.
We’ve set up five working groups to look at different strategies to make the difficult transition to a steady state economy that promotes well-being for all long into the future. There’s no silver bullet, no one solution. Instead there are a number of different strategies that are feasible to implement and which, together, would help turn round the giant oil tanker of ‘growth forever’ economic thinking. We’re looking for more people to join these working groups – to discuss by email and phone and come together for a day conference to share our ideas in Bristol on Saturday 7th Nov 2015. Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to join a working group or find out more about our ‘Joy in Enough’ project.
A brief summary of the working group themes:
- The big trans-boundary questions of limiting resource use, tackling emissions targets, and minimizing the production of waste. WG1
- Reform of the financial sector; changing national economic goals and how to measure progress; investment in low-carbon economic activities that employ people in ways that contribute meaningfully to planetary well-being. WG2
- Tackling social inequality and promoting work-time reductions and work sharing to challenge the idea that we can only solve unemployment through growth. WG3
- Promoting conditions that can improve family and local community relationships; challenging consumerism. WG4
- The imperatives in scripture and theology for this new kind of economics, and the implied implications for the churches’ mission. WG5
As many experts have shown we can have prosperity without growth. Another world is possible – a world of visions of society, at different levels in different places, where people are less stressed, more sociable, more fulfilled, more peaceful than most of us are now, where unemployment, extreme poverty and inequality are less – and without destroying global life support systems. This is putting ‘love thy neighbour’ into practice for the 21st century, and caring for nature too. It’s not an unrealistic utopia — neighbours will still quarrel, all life’s challenges will still be there. But we can work together for a world with a more sustainable economy, society and environment than the one we have currently.