Seminar: Achieving a Sustainable Economy within Planetary Boundaries (9 Mar 16)

Wednesday 9 March 2016, 12-1.15pm, IDEA Centre, 8-12 Fenton Street, University of Leeds

Speaker: Daniel O’Neill, University of Leeds

Economic growth remains the primary policy goal of most governments.  And yet, the pursuit of growth is (a) not sustainable due to environmental limits, (b) not desirable because it is failing to improve people’s lives, and (c) not realistic due to factors such as an ageing population and increasing debt.  In this presentation, Daniel will discuss some of the changes that would be needed to achieve the alternative of a “steady-state economy”.  At its simplest, this is an economy where resource use is stabilised within environmental limits, and where the goal of increasing GDP is replaced by the goal of improving human well-being.  A number of changes are needed to achieve such an economy.  These include strategies to conserve natural resources, stabilise population, reduce inequality, fix the financial system, create jobs, and change the way we measure progress.  Daniel will explore the last of these strategies in depth using a set of biophysical and social indicators.  The results of his analysis suggest that a biophysically stable economy can be socially sustainable.  However, we need to become much better at translating resource use into human well-being if we are to extend a high quality of life to all people within planetary boundaries.

All are welcome and there is no need to book (cost is free).