Post growth is about building on the existing aspects of our world that are sustainable in order to create resilient futures. This includes strengthening ecologically and socially sustainable practices, while recognizing the physical limits of the earth.
For the last few decades the world economy has focused incessantly on growth: growth in national production, growth in profits, growth in a dizzying array of consumer items, growth in financial markets, growth in population. Across political parties and ideologies (capitalism, socialism, communism) many have come to accept the story that “all economic growth is good”. This growth orientation has led to massive changes in terms of the relationship between humans and the earth and our relationships with each other. The growth story tells us that these changes are good, and that this is the way we will, and must, continue into the future.
Yet, other perspectives are emerging. Around the globe, in many different ways, people are coming to believe a different story. We see that, in some cases and up to a certain point, this focus on growth has led to a growth in well-being. We also see that it has come at the expense of other people as well as the planet, leading to growth in inequality, growth in the use of non-renewable natural resources, growth in pollution, growth in stress, growth in the extinction of plants and animals, growth in insecurity, growth in loneliness and loss of community, and so on – to the point that we are threatening the earth’s ability to sustain us. As a result, we ask, ‘what are we capable of without economic growth?’
Post growth is an umbrella term for this emerging perspective: for a way of seeing and being in the world that comes after the growth story. Just as there are many ways of living now in a growth-oriented society, a multitude of post growth futures are possible and many ways of living post growth already exist today. What these futures hold in common is a desire to separate good growth from bad, and to develop human potential and happiness within, and in relation to, a physically finite earth. A post growth economy puts life and everything needed to maintain it at the center of economic and social activity as opposed to the never-ending accumulation of money, and the pursuit of growth of all kinds without regard for its consequences.