Creating global prosperity without economic growth

How on Earth?

Flourishing in a Not-for-Profit World by 2050

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“Combining passion and hard evidence, How on Earth is a fascinating, highly original book. It points to how not-for-profit organizations can play a major role in building a more caring and sustainable economy. It further documents a strong trend in this direction through not-for-profit models that generate revenue that is then invested in caring for people and nature.” – Riane Eisler, author of The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics

“One of the most exciting searches for a sustainable alternative.  Nothing else could strike at the very heart of  the profit motive – and all the damage it causes – like this does.”
-
Richard Wilkinson, Author of The Spirit Level and Emeritus Professor of Social Epidemiology at University of Nottingham Medical School

“Precisely the bold economic thinking that we need!”
- Randy Hayes, Rainforest Action Network founder & Director, Foundation Earth

“A cogent, compelling blueprint for building an economy where everyone can thrive without wrecking the planet along the way” - Carl Honoré, Author of In Praise of Slowness

“What would business look like aligned with a just and sustainable planet? This book offers a vision, and more than that, a practical path that people can implement right now” - Charles Eisenstein, Author, Sacred Economics, and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible

How on Earth explains how a thriving economy doesn’t have to be based on providing returns to private shareholders and investors. Not-for-profit enterprises are among the most successful and sustainable businesses around. This book is a must-read!”  - Linda Wilcox Young, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Economics, Southern Oregon University

“The concepts developed here go so much deeper and broader than the already profound financial and ecological ramifications. This book strikes at our heart space, reminding us that the human connectivity between us all is what matters most, and that our shared quest for prosperity is dramatically easier when we focus on developing strong businesses that exist to generate communal wealth” – Prof. Vijoleta Braach-Maksvytis Ph.D. FAICD, former Head, Office of the Chief Scientist of Australia

How on Earth will be published in the autumn of 2014 and distributed by Chelsea Green Publishing.  Please visit here if you would like to pre-purchase the book (US$19.95 for paperback and US$9.95 for e-book).

Synopsis

Not-for-profit enterprise will be at the heart of the global economy by 2050. This is the compelling vision outlined in How on Earth, based on a growing body of evidence that the world is shifting toward an ‘economics of enough’. Providing a groundbreaking exploration of how a global economy can flourish in a not-for-profit world, the authors develop a viable model for a new triple bottom line – people, planet, not-for-profit – that embodies the evolution we have been waiting for.

From construction and manufacturing, through to software development, food catering and retail, the not-for-profit ethic is permeating global commerce. Not-for-profit entities increasingly generate their own income, rather than relying on philanthropy. Cooperatives, community interest companies, government-owned corporations, social businesses and social enterprises all show how reinvesting, rather than privatizing their profits, is the healthiest and most sustainable way to manage a business.

In fact, many not-for-profit (NFP) enterprises are now outperforming their for-profit counterparts – connected to a process described by economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin as ‘the eclipse of capitalism’. In the U.S., for example, credit unions offer their 96 million members consistently higher returns on deposits, lower loan rates and, since the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis, have increased their total assets by 30%, compared to a 6.5% increase by for-profit banks during the same period. Indeed, not-for-profit entities have marked advantages in terms of finance, human resources, productivity, innovation, governance, value creation and market reputation.

The rise of NFP business provides the first real opportunity to address the dual crises of our time. Financial inequality, as shown in economist Thomas Piketty’s recent work, is an inherent tendency of capitalism. The emerging, global NFP economy embodies a post-capitalist market with the redistribution of wealth central to its operation. Ecological devastation is inherent in any growth-dependent economy on a planet with biophysical limits. By changing the nature of incentive in business, the NFP model enables true ecological sensitivity and stewardship.

Combined with the rise of crowdfunding, collaborative consumption, open source peer-to-peer production, distributed manufacturing and relocalization, NFP enterprise offers a path to a vibrant post-growth economy. The emerging NFP economy encourages a truly efficient market that builds on existing community strengths and resources. In prioritizing human need, rather than greed, the NFP world economy will reduce overall resource consumption, incorporate ecological and social costs, and require less taxation and government bureaucracy in the process.

The ingredients for global flourishing exist. How on Earth presents a simple yet powerful recipe for the transition to a thriving ‘economics of enough’ that works for all of humanity.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – Possibility: How the Emerging ‘Not-for-Profit’ Ethic Changes Everything

Chapter 2 – Probability: Why the Future of Business May Well be Not-for-Profit

Chapter 3 – Necessity: Why Our Collective Flourishing Requires a Not-for-Profit World

Chapter 4 – Viability: How a Not-for-Profit Macroeconomy Can Work, For Us All

Chapter 5 - Capability: How We Can Co-create a Not-for-Profit World by 2050

Further Resources

Donnie Maclurcan’s presentation at the Sustainable Brands Conference in Philadelphia, September 2013 – ‘An Alternative Macro-economic Framework – How, on Earth?’ (12 mins)

Donnie Maclurcan’s talk outlining a macroeconomic framework based on not-for-profit enterprise at the Environmental Professionals Forum (Oct 2012) hosted by Net Balance.

(Audio Recording available here)

Author Biographies

An experienced social entrepreneur, Donnie Maclurcan is Executive Director at the Post Growth Institute and Affiliate Professor of Social Science at Southern Oregon University. He is author of ‘Nanotechnology and Global Equality’, ‘Nanotechnology and Global Sustainability’ and is currently writing ‘The Not-for-Profit Handbook’.

A social systems designer, Jennifer Hinton is Co-Director at the Post Growth Institute, and teaches sustainability and English in Athens, Greece. Her work has included projects on China’s circular economy, ethanol production in Brazil and Sweden, renewable energy job creation in Uzbekistan, and lowering the ecological footprint of Greek public schools.

Gratitude

The strength of this book project is rooted in the power of people.

The nearly $21,000 we received through our crowdfunding campaign has made the development of How on Earth possible.  So, big thanks go out to everyone who contributed!

If you want to get involved or help with the book project in some way, please contact us at: info(at)postgrowth(dot)org.

Book cover image and design by Chiara Aliotta: www.untilsunday.it.

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