Arguing for post-growth economics in an era of austerity: equality, sustainability and human flourishing

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Going against the mainstream economic and political perspective that a return to orthodox economic growth is the only way out of the current economic crisis, this paper suggests that the current crisis should rather be viewed as a failure of the orthodox economic model.  But more than that.  The paper also suggests that the crisis should be viewed as an opportunity to rethink how we both organise and think about the economy.  Adopting a green political economy approach the paper argues that the current crisis presents itself as an opportunity for greater democratic and public debate and pluralism in how we think about economics in the context of global and local ecological challenges such as climate change and the urgent need for a transition to a low carbon economy.  Apart from these ecological/energy/climate aims, the paper also suggests two other objectives that should be more seriously considered for an economy 'fit for purpose' for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.  The first objective and criteria against which an economy should be judged by is lowering socio-economic inequality for a variety of normative, empirical and political reasons.  The second objective for the economy from this green political perspective is that human flourishing replaces of supplements  orthodox economic growth.  These three criteria - a low carbon energy economy, a less unequal society, and making human flourishing a central objective of public policy - represent a challenging and heterodox form of green political economy within the current political and economic debate around the the causes and cures of our current economic crisis and associated austerity measures.
Period14 Nov 2013
Held atUniversity College Dublin, Ireland


  • green political economy
  • green economics
  • green politics