To transform society, as climate science insists we must, we need a new economics
Lightly regulated corporate capitalism – a.k.a. neoliberalism – has done much to get us into this mess, with its view of the earth’s finite resources as ‘natural capital’ to be ruthlessly extracted and exploited. The economic theory underpinning this – 'neoclassical economics' – has been taught in universities and faithfully accepted by mainstream political parties for forty years. GDP is its metric; endless growth is its goal. But this economic orthodoxy is being challenged. Doughnut Economics, for example, pioneered by Kate Raworth, defines its goal as ‘thriving’ communities, living within planetary boundaries. Another big idea is degrowth, which argues that to avoid climate catastrophe (and for many other good reasons), we need to extract, produce and consume less stuff – and in the words of Jason Hickel, ‘become more’.