Prosperity for a Finite Planet

The Five Thousand Pound Life: Prosperity for a Finite Planet (Part 1) | Tim Jackson | Recorded April 24, 2014 | Running time: 12:29

On April 24, 2014, Tim Jackson spoke on the shifting paths for achieving prosperity in our lives. While economic growth was once essential in reaching our current level of development, perhaps continued growth not only sees diminishing returns, but also detracts from our present happiness and future prosperity. In a world with finite ecological limits, how do we make what we need, get it to the people who need it, and nurture what we already have? In part one of his talk (embedded above), Jackson offers a cogent diagnosis of the growing tension between economic growth and prosperity.


The Five Thousand Pound Life: Prosperity for a Finite Planet (Part 2) | Tim Jackson | Recorded April 24, 2014 | Running time: 15:35

In part two (above), Jackson looks forward to an alternative economics that would better serve future prosperity. If an ever-expanding array of consumer products is not a sustainable way of connecting individuals and creating meaning, what might take their place? Jackson suggests that public and cultural spaces more effectively cultivate connection and meaningful citizenship, driving prosperity without the need for endless growth. A shift from the production of goods to the provision of services may increase prosperity while creating jobs and promoting investment in our relationships, our environment, and our future.


Prosperity for a Finite Planet: Discussion (Part 3) | Tim Jackson and Eduardo Porter | Recorded April 24, 2014 | Running time: 25:16

In part three, New York Times journalist Eduardo Porter engages Tim Jackson in discussion. In his questioning, Porter presses Jackson to articulate the differences between essential and non-essential economic growth, including the differences between achieving prosperity in low-income and high-income nations. Jackson explains how human relationships are articulated increasingly through material goods, and the danger this poses to the ecological limits of the planet.


Tim Jackson is the author of Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet. He is Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey and Director of RESOLVE—a research group on lifestyles, values, and the environment funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). For over twenty years, Jackson has been at the forefront of research on the relationship between economic growth and the environment. During the ‘90s and ‘00s he worked extensively on the development of “adjusted” national accounts (“green GDP”) at both national and regional levels in the United Kingdom. He has also written extensively on the conceptual and empirical dimensions of the relationship between economic growth, wellbeing, and sustainability. In 2004 he was appointed Economics Commissioner on the UK Sustainable Development Commission, where he led a program of work entitled Redefining Prosperity.

Eduardo Porter is a journalist with The New York Times, where he writes the Economic Scene column. He was formerly a member of the’ editorial board, writing on business, economics, and a mix of other matters. Porter began his career in journalism over twenty years ago as a financial reporter for Notimex, a news agency based in Mexico City. He was deployed as a correspondent to Tokyo and London, and in 1996 moved to São Paulo as editor of business magazine América Economía. In 2000, he moved to Los Angeles to cover the city’s growing Hispanic population for The Wall Street Journal, moving to The New York Times in 2004.

For more information about The Five Thousand Pound Life, including an introductory essay, click here.