In the garden, and when it comes to your personal development, growth is almost always a wonderful thing. The image above shows my forest garden – growing strong. But the same thing, arguably, is not true when it comes to economics. I am by no means an economist, but I have recently been thinking a lot about a green recovery, and what that really means.
The doughnut economic model is all about re-thinking GDP. It is one of a number of alternative economic models that have been proposed. With reference to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, this model proposes an alternative to the endless drive for financial growth. A healthy economy should be designed to thrive, not grow.
Kate Raworth argues that an economy should put people’s needs first – providing for all of our basic needs and yet bounded by the limits of what our planet can sustainably provide.
This is a concept that can be scaled down – We can ask ourselves how can a city, a town, a community or even an individual household live by these principles. (Amsterdam intends to embrace this concept in post-coronavirus economic recovery.)
I am not necessarily saying that this is the right model for a green recovery. There are plenty of interesting models out there to look at. But I would argue that thinking about the lower limit – the basics that we need for a decent quality of life and the upper limit of what our environment and resources available to us is not just for economic recovery. It can also help us find the right path in all our own lives.
How much is enough? And when we have enough, do we really need to endlessly strive to make more money? We all know that money does not necessarily bring happiness. So rather than trying to grow our income – we should instead be growing in other ways. Freedom from constant striving for economic success might free us up and help us live happier and more sustainable lives in a range of different ways.