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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Post-growth is a global futures approach to the limits-to-growth dilemma — the perception that, on a planet of finite resources, economies and populations cannot grow infinitely. The term "post-growth" acknowledges that economic growth can generate beneficial effects up to a point, but beyond that point (cited as $25,000 GDP/capita by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in their book The Spirit Level) it is necessary to look for other indicators and techniques to increase human wellbeing.

Post-growth can be distinguished from similar concepts and movements (such as degrowth and steady-state economy) in that it seeks to identify and build on what is already working, rather than focusing on what is not. Post-growth advocates try to encourage, connect and further develop already existing ideas, concepts, technologies, systems, initiatives, and actions. In this way, "post-growth" does not specify the answer to the limits-to-growth challenge, as "steady state economics" and "degrowth" attempt to do, but rather, seeks to understand and address this challenge from an evolving complex systems perspective. With this perspective, post-growth deals with all aspects of self and society (such as psychology, human nature, human evolution, cultures, social systems and economies) and the interrelation of all of these aspects. Accordingly, the post-growth concept also advocates solutions that are appropriate with regards to place, time, resource and cultural factors. Therefore, post-growth initiatives take shape in very different ways under different circumstances.

Post-growth can be considered an asset-based approach to community development — applied not only to community development but across a wide range of categories — in response to limits-to-growth challenges, as it seeks to identify and build on cultural and technological assets to facilitate the emergence of post-growth futures. In his landmark work Prosperity Without Growth (Routledge, 2017), the economist Tim Jackson demonstrates that building a ‘post-growth’ economy is indeed a "precise, definable and meaningful task". Starting from clear first principles, he sets out the dimensions of that task: the nature of enterprise; the quality of our working lives; the structure of investment; and the role of the money supply.

See also

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