Imagining Life after Capitalism
Today we think about the power of ideas and imagine what life might look like after capitalism. With me is Tim Jackson. In his new book, Post Growth: Life after capitalism, Tim shows the limits of the dominant metaphors used to explain our current world and argues for new metaphors to help imagine a sustainable, just, and creative future.
Tim Jackson is the director of the center for understanding of Sustainable prosperity and professor of sustainable development at the university of Surrey.
Citation: Jackson, Tim, interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 236, podcast audio, April 19, 2021. https://freshedpodcast.com/jackson/
Will Brehm 1:46
Tim Jackson, welcome to FreshEd.
Tim Jackson 1:49
It’s great to be here, Will.
Will Brehm 1:51
So, can you tell me a little bit about what the “power of a metaphor” is?
Tim Jackson 1:56
A metaphor is a way of using language that evokes, if you like, a different part of the brain. It evokes much more the right-hand side of the brain, the creative side of the brain because it’s immediately doing something which connects something in the real world to an image, which may not be the same thing at all. You may not even know why that link is there. But the power of metaphor is really to kind of almost to connect the left and the right brains because it connects us from the bits of our brain that is thinking about the world right now to a set of creative images that allow us to then interpret that left-brain idea in a very different way. And so, metaphor is very powerful for telling stories, for creating narratives, for enhancing our understanding of the world in a way that isn’t just about logic, rationality, and statistics but is about poetry, emotion, and feeling. And that’s why I think metaphor is a very powerful way of thinking about stuff generally.
Will Brehm 3:00
So, it can definitely help us understand the current world we live in, but can metaphors also help us imagine different worlds? Different futures?
Tim Jackson 3:08
Absolutely. I think so. I mean, I think in a way that power of imagination is probably our deepest resource in thinking about how to navigate the kinds of challenges that we have at the moment. We are inevitably locked in a kind of a worldview, our own view of what the world looks like right now. We’re cultured into it; we’re socialized into it from a very young age. And we’re also sort of blind to it. We don’t see where our own cultural prejudices lie because they exist as a background. They almost seem like bricks and mortar, they seem like the reality of our world, they seem immutable, those assumptions about what the economy looks like, what our town looks like, what the world is going to look like in the future. And it’s the breaking out of that, that is so desperately needed when we want to think about a different kind of future. And the best way to break out of that really is this power of imagination, the use of metaphor, narrative, poetry, music even actually is a fantastic way to free our creativity from if you like the kind of the prison of now. Prison and prism. We look at the ‘now’ through a particular prism, and it becomes a sort of prison because it captures us in its sense of permanence. And that permanence, of course, is a complete illusion because things change dramatically over time. And as we’ve seen in our lifetimes, over the last year, those changes can be very, very profound indeed.
Will Brehm 4:44
So, what are some of the metaphors and stories, and how are we being socialized into the current sort of world system today. This sort of capitalist system. What are the metaphors that we commonly hear and assume to be true and, in a sense, universal?
Tim Jackson 5:03
Well, I think you could almost think of capital itself as a metaphor. The original use of the term came from the Latin capitas, capita, I can’t remember exactly what the ending is. But it basically meant the head. And it was about counting the number of heads of cattle that you had in the field to give an impression of the stock of your wealth counted as the animals that you owned. And so, capital is itself a metaphor. And when you think about it, it’s a metaphor that tells a story about numbers, statistics, and, and a very particular kind of wealth. And in doing that, we’ve been creating a capitalism, in which everything is interpreted in terms of capital. We have physical capital, we have financial capital, we are now encouraged to talk about natural capital-
Will Brehm 5:50
Tim Jackson 5:52
-and human capital and social capital. We’ve actually ‘metaphorized’ our entire world through a kind of statistical analogy to something that really bears no relevance to the kinds of things we’re talking about when we’re talking about social interactions, or human potential, or even the dimensions of the natural world. And economics does this very, very powerfully. And we talk consistently about the bottom line, for example, as a metaphor for -when you come to the bottom line, this is what matters. The bottom line is the line in a profit and loss statement which tells you how much profit you’ve got. And yet, we use that metaphor throughout our lives. And we talk about things like, you know, “let me cash it out for you”. Cashing it out for you is, again, an economic metaphor, and we learn these metaphors, they become part of the language of everyday life. And we use them consistently without realizing that their power in our minds is quite substantial because they come from a certain place, they’re associated with a certain rationality. Much of that rationality belongs to a left-brain view of the world. And it curtails our ability to think in visionary terms about the future when we don’t depart from that language. And when we don’t allow imagination, metaphor, creativity to give us the signpost to a different kind of journey. There was a wonderful example of this a few years ago -it was a couple of decades ago now actually- of a tiny little book called Human Scale Development. And it was developed by a Chilean economist called Manfred Max-Neef. And the way they did it actually was fascinating because he was a Chilean economist looking at rural communities where many of the metaphors of economics made no sense. Much of the language made no sense, and the subsistence farming, and the poverty, and the need to create a livelihood under very harsh circumstances was the challenge that he was looking at. And he was sponsored by the Tällberg Foundation in Sweden to come up with a sort of view of development that was relevant to these needs. And he got together a group of economists, and sociologists, and political scientists, and indeed, representatives of NGOs and civil society organizations, and they all got together for I think it was a week or so in Sweden only. And the rules of the game were very simple: you could not use any economic terms whatsoever. You have to come up with. In thinking about this development challenge, you had to talk about it without talking in economic terms.
Will Brehm 8:35
And how did that go?
Tim Jackson 8:38
It was extraordinary powerful, I mean, it’s a kind of nice light blue color, and it’s called Human Scale Development. And it has been cited so many times -that little book- because it kind of provides a really powerful idea that what people are trying to do in their lives is satisfy certain kinds of needs. And that’s obviously not a new idea, you can talk about Abraham Maslow, who talked about the hierarchy of needs. And actually, what they did in this little group was sort of depart from that hierarchy and say, “You know, we have lots of different kinds of needs, and they all sit side by side, but we’re also trying to satisfy those needs”. And so, he created a kind of matrix of needs versus satisfiers. And he created a language where satisfaction doesn’t necessarily always occur. That you can have a need, you can seek to satisfy it, but actually, it can be a pseudo-satisfier in the sense, for example, that shopping can be a pseudo-satisfier of the need for affection, consolation, or even social satisfaction.
Will Brehm 9:42
So, materialism, in a way, is not necessarily a way always to satisfaction.
Tim Jackson 9:48
Exactly, exactly. It opens up this possibility that actually much of our satisfaction beyond those very, very fundamental needs of food and housing. Many of those needs are psychological and social in nature. And we choose in society, or were persuaded in society, to satisfy or attempt to satisfy many of those needs with material things, and they’re very poor satisfiers of the underlying needs. So, that was really, I think, a very good example of what you were suggesting there that, you know, you take away the easy ability to use a familiar language to describe a problem, you force yourself into a different view of what’s happening, and even exclude the language that you would normally use, and suddenly, you come up with this very, very creative solution, which allows you to talk about real people’s problems in rural, poor areas where livelihoods and subsistence is the order of the game, and where the formal economy is not helping them at all.
Will Brehm 10:51
And yet, we sort of live in this world, at least at the elite level in elite institutions, and perhaps in Northern or Western countries, where the language of economics is dominant, and particularly this idea of growth, that growth is always good. How did some of these metaphors about growth come to be so dominant?
Tim Jackson 11:15
Yeah, that’s a really interesting question, and I think there are lots of things going on. If you think about the language of economic growth, that has been so dominant in the last probably 70 years, it came about partly during the Second World War. The Allied governments needed a way to figure out how much to spend on the war effort. So, they drew up a system of accounts and the GDP, the gross domestic product, which is the main measure of economic growth, really was a product of that. And I mean, I’m actually quite a big fan of the GDP, which kind of sounds surprising for someone who doesn’t like growth very much. Because I think it’s a very elegant construct. It ties together the production side of the economy with the consumption side, the private side with the public side, investment with consumption. It allows you to ask very deep questions about how much debt there is and who pays that debt. You can talk about the distribution of people within that concept, as well. So, the framework of the national accounts that was developed at that time was an incredibly useful one, it proved its usefulness during the war. And after the war, it became a kind of very, very conventional metric for the developed world first, but eventually, everybody to try to figure out their accounts. And then out of that accounting framework came this idea that the more GDP you had, the better off things were all the way down the line. The more people could have in their pockets, the more industry could invest in the future, the more government could spend on its citizens. And that’s also true to a certain extent. But in pursuing that goal of growth for its own sake, over the next few decades, it became almost a false God, I think you could probably say. Because it isn’t at the end of the day. GDP isn’t actually a reflection of well-being in society, it’s not a reflection of social progress. It’s an accounting measure. So, we had once again, sort of given over our vision of social progress to a metaphor that came from accounting, much as we did with capitalism.
Will Brehm 13:30
Yeah, it’s quite interesting. I mean, Mariana Mazzucato’s work has sort of shown about where do you draw the line around what is considered valuable and should be included in that accounting language, right. And so, if you can sort of redraw the boundaries, you can actually have a very different understanding or different calculation of GDP.
Tim Jackson 13:51
Yeah. I mean, this is very powerful. Even within the remit of the GDP itself. What you do about the national boundary really, really matters. So, there’s two measures, one’s called the gross national product, and one’s called the gross domestic product. And actually, the difference between them is massive. Because if you’re just basing your success on the gross domestic product, actually, a lot of the wealth associated with that could just be flowing across the boundary to people who own enterprises in your country but are taking the profit out of them. So, even that distinction, that very simple distinction between the gross national product and the gross domestic product, hides an assumption about where wealth is held, who owns it, and what matters. And that’s a place where things can go dramatically wrong. I mean, you asked before about where did it get so powerful. It’s not easy to answer from that pure accounting perspective. From very early on after the national accounts were set up, it became very dysfunctional as well — what these difficulties were with the accounting framework. And one of the stories that I start with in the book actually is the story of Robert Kennedy’s speech at the University of Kansas in 1968. And so already by 1968, we knew that there were limitations to the GDP. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom, nor our learning, neither our compassion, devotion to our country. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. That was the punch line of Robert Kennedy’s speech that day in the University of Kansas. And it’s almost like we’ve known this for 50 something years, and yet it still has a power. So, your question about why does it have such a gripping power on us is a very interesting one. It’s kind of hard to answer, you know, once you set up the wrong measure, and you’ve set up your yardstick, and you’re following that yardstick, you’re in an uncritical frame of mind, and you begin to even ‘game’ the system according to that yardstick so that you come out if you have the power in society as best you can in relation to it. And it seems to be in exactly the way that we were talking about at the beginning, it seems to be a hardwired feature of the society and the economy that we live in. It seems like bricks and mortar; it seems like that’s the way the world works. And everybody makes the same assumption, everybody talks about growth, it becomes almost like a mantra, it assumes a quasi-religious quality.
Will Brehm 16:38
Right. And to get growth, everyone is competing with each other, which is somehow seen as natural. And that the materialism that sort of increases GDP is seen as actually something we desire and want, and the definition of what a good life is, is through that materialistic sort of definition. And then, there’s also that element of you have to deny all of these other aspects of life that -maybe materialism isn’t actually making you happy in the end. But you just have to sort of live with this denial to continue on promoting and advancing this myth of perpetual, limitless economic growth.
Tim Jackson 17:23
Yeah. I think that’s right. Denial becomes a really important part of the system. And as you say, we’re kind of denying lots of things. We’re denying the damage to the planet, we’re denying the suffering of other people. Most fundamentally, maybe, we’re denying the other parts of ourselves that aren’t counted in terms of material consumption. And that interestingly, that’s one of the things that really struck me is, that idea was at the heart of that speech at the University of Kansas. Although it’s become a kind of poster speech for a critique of the statistic of the GDP. It inspired, for example, the OECD’s ‘beyond GDP’ initiative. Actually, when you read the speech, you find that what he’s talking about is something much more fundamental. It’s talking about who we are as people, what kind of society we want to be in. It’s beginning exactly that conversation, that I was sort of aiming to stimulate in Post-Growth, but also aiming to show that this fount of knowledge and wisdom and learning within our history of ideas provides us a fundamental support for thinking differently about the world. There were lots of people who were, if you like, outside the matrix, thinking outside the box, counter culturally presenting ideas over long periods of time, that are all immensely relevant to where we find ourselves now.
Will Brehm 18:53
So, talking about now is really an interesting aspect because of the pandemic, right? I mean, so yes, a lot of these ideas obviously have had their origins decades ago, as you’re bringing up with Bobby Kennedy’s speech. But how has the pandemic, in a sense, sort of revealed a lot of the deficiencies of some of the metaphors and thinking that we have about economic growth and about competition and about materialism and what it means to live a good life? I mean, how has the pandemic sort of upended some of these metaphors that we commonly live with?
Tim Jackson 19:30
Yeah, I mean, I think that they are almost two separate questions there, really. I mean, in terms of the central kind of economic challenge, it really struck me very forcefully that -and you’ve got to sort of understand I’ve been working on this for quite a long time. I’ve watched it, I’ve seen it happening. I’ve seen how capitalism, in particular, creates this kind of tension between certain kinds of work and the promotion of growth. And it’s a little bit difficult to explain, but basically, it was revealed very, very clearly in the pandemic that the people who have had the most precarious lifestyles, who’d been the most poorly paid, who had the least security in the workforce turned out to be the people that we needed most through the pandemic. They were the nurses, the carers, the distribution workers, the frontline workers, the teachers to some extent, the cleaners –
Will Brehm 20:37
-People delivering food-
Tim Jackson 20:39
-delivering stuff. But cleaning the surfaces because actually suddenly, clean surfaces really, really matter. And yet, you know, those are the kinds of jobs that will kind of denigrated, poorly paid, and always being subject to this kind of pursuit of increasing productivity. You know, trying to get more and more out of these people each year, each hour of their working lives. Seeing more and more patients, teaching more and more students, working faster and faster. And the thing that had struck me about that before the pandemic is actually how fundamentally difficult those jobs become in a society that’s driven by growth, competition, efficiency, profit maximization, and labor productivity in particular. So, labor productivity, the productivity of our time in the economy, is almost like the pinnacle of how all of those metaphors have driven us towards this position where people who can’t produce output that’s measured as countable contributions to the GDP don’t have a voice in society. And these were the people -I mean, this is the extraordinary lesson- these were the people who turned out to matter most. So, this is, to me it is an abdication of responsibility, of course. We should have looked after those people better, they were always into our lives. They provide the contribution, the quality, and there’s a characteristic of quality, which is really, really important, which is that it’s the time they spend in those acts that creates the value to our lives. So, the time that the nurse spends with their patient, the time that the carer spends with their clients, the time that the teacher spends with their pupil, the time that social workers spend in the community, the time that craftsmen spend producing something beautiful, the time that artists spend creating, these are all very time-intensive activities. And there’s a wonderful quality of that time intensiveness, which is that if you employ more and more of your society in these activities that seem to contribute to the quality of their lives, then you can employ more people because there’s actually no deficit for employment. There’s a huge demand for this kind of work in society. And yet capitalism and the structure of the market and the pursuit of labor productivity systematically makes that bit of the economy, the most difficult part of the economy to maintain.
Will Brehm 23:22
Tim Jackson 23:23
I mean, I think the other part of your question is about how we began to think about our own priorities. And there, I would again say, that something very fundamental went on because we realized very, very early on, governments had to realize, too, that at a certain point, health becomes more important than wealth. And indeed, you know, we made very early on compromises in terms of the GDP, compromises in terms of wealth, compromises in terms of growth, precisely because of this priority actually, that health has when push comes to shove. It’s the thing -the top priority. It’s very interesting, when I was doing the work for Prosperity Without Growth, my previous book, I was looking for evidence of what people think prosperity is. And almost invariably, when you talk to people about prosperity, health is so fundamental to prosperity, that to have sort of forgotten that, to squeeze it out of our system in pursuit of a measure, which is dimly related to health at times is a sort of systematic failing. And I think there’s something fundamental belief beneath that, which is that when we think about growth, and we think about the accumulation of wealth, it’s really a story about having more. We’re being sold the idea that more and more is that is the place to be and the way to go, and that it’s possible, and that even if we don’t get it, our kids will have it. It’s a kind of mantra for our society that more is where we’re aiming for. Health interestingly is very, very different. Health is actually about balance. Sometimes you do need more. Take something basic like food. You know, in the poorest countries in the world, nutrition matters, having more matters. But the World Health Organization has now told us that more people die from diseases of affluence, from over-nutrition, than die from undernutrition in the world. In other words, just as having too little is wrong, when you’re thinking about the balance of health, having too much is wrong as well. And this sense, in fact, that health provides us with a kind of different metaphor, a metaphor, which rejects the mantra of more, and says, rather, that what we should be aiming for is a kind of appropriate balance to maintain the health of ourselves as physical organisms, of our mental worlds, of our community, of our social relationships, and indeed, our relationships with the planet.
Will Brehm 26:10
I think that’s a really good example of imagining a different world using different metaphors, right. And so that idea of balance becomes a really nice way to begin to reimagine a future. And maybe we’ve started seeing it because of the pandemic, just like Bobby Kennedy started seeing it decades ago, and others as you bring up in your book. Other people, of course, all over the world have seen this and understood this. It’s not new, in a sense, right? These ideas have been there.
Tim Jackson 26:44
It’s always been really important to me where ideas come from. And I think that’s kind of got a little bit lost in modernity. And it’s happened for a very specific reason, which is the rise of, kind of instant information and social media. And social media is a propagator of ideas that so very, very fast that the origins and the roots of those ideas get lost. And sometimes there’s actually, in the rush forward towards these new ideas, where we think we’re inventing new stuff, we lose sight of the fact that as you say, there is almost this very, very long pedigree of thought. And to me, I might be wrong. But I feel that’s important. I feel that’s important to bring into the way we think about the future because it’s an enormous resource to us if we think about it from a social perspective. If we think about it too much from an individual perspective, where everybody wants to be the one with a clever idea and the fastest response on Twitter, you know, more Twitter storm, after Twitter storm, recycling ideas. But if we think about it in the sense of a pedigree in a society, we get a kind of a longer-term view of the history of ideas and of the potential for change.
Will Brehm 28:01
And I agree. I think that history is a really important way to think about ideas, and the power of ideas, and how those ideas might look differently in different moments in different contexts. And sort of putting ourselves within that historical perspective. I think we’re not so unique after all, in a way. But I guess the question I was coming to was about: is it possible for these metaphors to actually change material reality? Or does material reality have to change before these new metaphors can actually take hold? So, the question is -the focus on ideas and metaphor as being a way to imagine a new future- is it really about changing what’s happening in the material world today?
Tim Jackson 28:51
That’s a lovely question. And I think it’s very, very complicated. I mean, I think one of the premises of the book is that ideas have enormous power, metaphors have enormous power. And I think some of what we were talking about at the top of the show really underlines that how those metaphors enter our lives and create structures which almost imprison us in a particular way of thinking about the world and prevent change happening. And in that context, it seems to me, and it kind of breaking out of that cage becomes incredibly important, and metaphors are the way to do that. And when you look at the development of ideas, you see how important those metaphors are. So, we think, for example, that evolutionary theory is a kind of very fact-based, objective theory. But when you look under the surface of evolution, you find actually, it adopted many of the metaphors that came from capitalism itself at a point in time at which capitalism was a kind of really quite ruthless beast. You know, tearing up and uprooting communities and people’s lives, and creating enormous wealth in one place and enormous poverty in another, creating pollution that was beyond the scale of anything that we’re kind of looking at now in terms of urban air quality. And in adopting the metaphors of capitalism, evolutionary theory privileged the idea of competition as the basis for how we work. And in doing that, it legitimized the idea of competition within capitalism. So, there’s this kind of circularity of ideas between the physical sciences and the economic sciences, between the natural sciences and the human sciences, which locked us into a particular way of thinking about things. And one of my other characters in the book, Lynn Margulis, was incredibly articulate about that. Instead of looking at the law of the jungle, nature, red in tooth and claw, she looked at the ways in which species cooperate with each other, in which symbiosis occurs, in which collaboration is the basis for living. And she said, if you just look for the competition, of course, you will find it. But if you look in these other places, you find the most extraordinary collaboration, the most extraordinary cooperation. And so, that’s why your question is so difficult, in a way. Because the world is not a sweet, fluffy place in which everybody collaborates and we’re all friendly to each other. That’s the utopian vision that we have of the world. But at the same time, you know, Ernest Becker put this in a lovely way he called, you know, creation is a nightmare spectacular, it is built on a planet soaked for millions of years with the blood of all its species. You know, it’s this, the winner takes all, the strong eat the weak, the kind of the law of the jungle and the war of all against all, as Thomas Hobbes called it, is what the foundation of our civilization is. And yet, it’s very difficult to deny that. I think it’s wrong to deny that in a way. But set against that is a set of ideas, who have been subjugated by the single- mindedness of competition and of placing competition at the heart of our economic systems, our institutions, our financial regulation, our education system, and even our social relationships. And that’s where I think you have to accept both things. You have to sort of say that the metaphors do reflect some parts of reality, but they never reflect the whole reality. And in settling on metaphors, we restrict our vision to the world that we could be working towards and moving towards.
Will Brehm 33:05
Another issue that I think about when we think of metaphors and imagining new futures, and really some of the utopian thinking, which has also a very long history, is sort of who gets to even imagine a future? Who gets to create metaphor? Well, in fact, that book you brought up earlier is an interesting example, right? Because it is these sort of rural Chilean subsistence farmers, and they were given the opportunity to imagine a future. And it was obviously a really powerful book. But yet, how often does that happen? How often is it those who are living in really difficult material conditions and realities, are they given the opportunity and chances to actually imagine completely new futures that have power and the ability to then change our material world, right? I mean, it’s a question of who gets to even imagine?
Tim Jackson 34:04
I think that’s really important. I mean, one of Margulis’ point was that the world of Darwinism and competition was a very masculine, male-oriented view on the world. And the exclusion of women from science or the difficulty that women had in participating in science had led to an over-masculinized version of science and, indeed, of economic and our sense of the economy. And that’s, I think, a realization that we’re beginning to have at the moment that you know, these views that are forged not just Western civilization, but an almost globalized culture, come from a very small set of people looking at the world in a very particular way, from a particular viewpoint, and with a perhaps inappropriate allocation of power.
So, there’s one thing that kind of troubles me about that, I guess because one of my arguments in the book is that in freeing ourselves from these ideas and finding our way towards a different kind of world, that the arts is a place which can lend us the creativity of seeing into the future. And you find when you begin to look at the arts, of course, that that’s a place where this debate about power and who has artistic creativity, who has access to artistic creativity whose voices are heard, whose art matters, is an incredibly well it’s a fascinating one, but it’s also quite divided in opinion. So, there are some who would argue that actually art always follows power. And all of our great examples of great artists are built on the back of power. And even the poor, who were the poor artist at the time, were patronized by people in power. And sometimes that power was used to support artists, to support the worldview that allowed those people to maintain power. So, these kinds of stories around creating visions of imperial grandiose through musical symphonies, for example. Is one of those places where my appeal to the inherent creative ability in all of us to envisage change and to engage in art as an element of prosperity becomes problematized. Because when you look at the things that we really, really love and adore, we do find quite often that they’re colonized by power. And so, it’s not an easy one to resolve. There’s an example in the book, which is really quite profound, actually, which is of a blues singer called Nina Simone. And I use this anecdote of an event, which took place three days after Martin Luther King was shot in 1968. And she and a couple of other musicians had written a song called ‘Why? The King of Love is Dead.’ And Nina Simone is that kind of rags to riches story. She’s a story of somebody who came from nowhere. She was a Black woman, she was excluded from power, and yet through the power of art itself, she created this wonderful kind of legacy of blues music. And this one moment, in particular, which I, when I was writing the book I just watched over and over again, because it’s such a wonderful moment where she’s doing this tribute concert to Martin Luther King three days after he’s shot, and in the middle of this song, why she just breaks completely from the music. And she goes into this sort of ad-lib course about life and loss and death and justice, and hope. And then with this one single piano chord, then resumes the song towards the end, and it’s the most incredibly moving thing, and I wanted to put more of it in the book. And the reason I couldn’t is because it doesn’t belong to Nina Simone, it doesn’t belong to me, it doesn’t belong to the public. It belongs to a certain set of people who’ve claimed power over the rights to the creative output that Nina Simone produced. And actually, it would have breached that copyright of someone who is long dead to put it into the book. So, it’s there. And you can go I’ve -one of the things I did in the book is put a lot of footnotes to some of these things that I was looking at. So, you can go there and look at it, but it’s almost an inverted story, if you like, of how power colonizes the ability to speak and even the reproduction of that.
Will Brehm 38:51
Turning an idea into private property.
Tim Jackson 38:55
Yeah, turning creativity into private property.
Will Brehm 38:58
Yeah, trying to imagine futures but then being pulled back by the dominant narratives and metaphors and powers that be.
Tim Jackson 39:06
Yeah. In the ideal world -and we can sort of be a little bit utopian in thinking about this – this creativity, I believe, is a birthright for everybody. And that doesn’t mean to say that everybody is a Mozart, or everybody is a Nina Simone. But it does mean that this power of creativity exists in all of us. And I think there’s a sense in which materialism -there are many senses I think, in which materialism- and consumerism systematically suppress that creativity. And that was also one of the kind of themes in the book that actually lifting the weight of materialism from us is one of the clearest ways of seeing this enormous human potential that comes through creativity.
Will Brehm 39:52
Tim Jackson, thank you so much for joining FreshEd. I think there’s a lot to think about and a lot of new ways of seeing our world and our future. And hopefully, we do get into that Post-Growth world that you have begun to imagine.
Tim Jackson 40:07
It’s been a pleasure talking to you, Will. The point of the book for me is to provoke that conversation, and I have the sense too that Post-Growth is not a destination, it’s a journey. And so, I hope that the book kind of helps us along that way.
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Related Guest Publications/Projects
Post growth – Life after capitalism
Prosperity without growth: Foundations for the economy of tomorrow
Beyond GDP: Measuring and achieving global genuine progress
Prosperity without growth? The transition to a sustainable economy
Prosperity without growth: Economics for a finite planet
Beyond GDP: Measuring what counts for economic and social performance
Creating worldviews: Metaphor, ideology and language
The forms of capital – Bourdieu
This isn’t capitalism _ It’s growthism
Robert Kennedy’s speech at the University of Kansas (1968)
Nina Simone – Why? (The King of Love is Dead)
The DO MORE mindset is ruining the planet
A healthy economy should be designed to thrive, not grow
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