Creating global prosperity without economic growth

How on Earth

‘What if an economy built on purpose is already emerging?



This is the compelling vision outlined in the forthcoming bookHow on Earth, based on a growing body of evidence that the world is shifting toward an ‘economics of enough’.

“One of the most exciting searches for a sustainable alternative” Emeritus Professor Richard Wilkinson, Co-author of The Spirit Level

How on Earth: Flourishing in a Not-For-Profit World by 2050 will be published in late 2017 and distributed by Chelsea Green Publishing.

Please place pre-publication orders here, or you can grab a copy via our original Indiegogo crowdfunding page, which now enables perpetual campaigns.

Read updates on the book’s progress.

For media enquiries and pre-publication review copies, contact Gudrun Freese.

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

“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

“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

“I welcome this book helping to illuminate the unpaid, cooperative half of all societies – ignored  in GDP and therefore invisible to  mainstream media  and society.  Economists’ money-focused models still mis-price goods and services, as I have documented for decades. Maclurcan and Hinton’s work reveals how these unpaid sectors, underpinning all societies, are now merging with open source movements, cooperatives, and the shareconomy, as part of a broader shift to a not-for-profit business ethic. All will soon eclipse money-based for-profit markets and corporations, worldwide.” – Dr. Hazel Henderson, Author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy and  Building A Win-Win-World. President, Ethical Markets Media (USA & Brazil) – Certified B Corporation

“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


What if not-for-profit enterprise were 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 Macluran and Jennifer Hinton’s article in The Guardian, 1 October 2014 – ‘Beyond capitalism: not for profit business ethos motivates sustainable behaviour’

screenshot of header from Guardian article

Donnie Maclurcan interviewed about Not For Profit World on Jefferson Public Radio February 2015 (20 mins) and April 2015 (41 mins)

‘The Not For Profit World Our Hearts Know Is Possible’

Presentation by Donnie Maclurcan at London South Bank University, October 2014

Audio from presentation and Q & A from How on Earth? Flourishing in a Not-for-Profit World given in 22 September for CASSE – Yorkshire Chapter, University of Leeds.

Donnie Maclurcan’s talk on ‘An Economics of Enough’ for the Adventures in New Economics series in Totnes, September 2014, as part of his How on Earth speaking tour of the UK. How post-capitalist economics, the open source/peer to peer movement, addressing both extreme inequality and ecological overshoot, creating purposeful livelihoods and sustainable business can be addressed through not for profit enterprise.

What would a world filled with truly sustainable businesses look like? According to Professor Donnie Maclurcan in this presentation ‘Where Sustainable Design Meets Business Sustainability’ at Tent London in September 2014, not-for-profit enterprise will be at the heart of a sustainable future by 2050. Outlining research from Donnie’s forthcoming book with Jennifer Hinton, How on Earth, Donnie explores what it takes to design for human flourishing on a finite planet.

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.


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: