There is substantial evidence that further economic growth in wealthy nations is neither sustainable nor desirable. It is indeed time, as Peter Victor writes (Nature 468, 370–371; 2010), to answer key questions about what a non-growing economy would look like in practice. We need a new macro-economics for sustainability, and we need it now.
On 17 November a report was released in the United Kingdom, entitled Enough is Enough: Ideas for a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources (see http://go.nature.com/hv52np). The report brings together the ideas generated at the first Steady State Economy Conference held in June this year in Leeds, UK. It discusses policy proposals in ten key areas needed to achieve a no-growth economy. Proposals include policies to limit resource use, reduce income inequality, reform the monetary system, change consumer behaviour, restructure business, secure full employment and improve the way in which we measure progress.
A growing number of economists, scientists and policy-makers are beginning to understand the urgent need for an economic model based on stability instead of growth (see http://go.nature.com/f8ig8s). A combination of further research into the steady-state model and bold action to turn this model into government policy is required to achieve well-being for everyone within ecological limits.