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Prosperity without Growth



Taking leave of the growth illusion

Growth  =  Material wealth. This has been the ruling dogma of our society for decades. Whoever questions it is looked upon as naïve. But does it really still hold? Have not those who are firmly sticking to this belief been blind to reality for ages? In his trailblazing book Meinhard Miegel, one of Germany's most renowned social scientists, shows how present-day growth does not augment our material wealth but rather consumes it in a dramatic fashion. If we want to retain it, we must free ourselves from the growth illusion - today rather than tomorrow.

The growth of the economy has become the substitute religion of our society. Many people regard it as a prerequisite for material wealth, personal happiness and a functioning community. But what will happen if there is no more growth? What can, what should take its place in order to enable us to lead fulfilled lives? Meinhard Miegel, one of Germany's most renowned social scientists, provides profound answers to these urgent questions.

The fact that the unprecedented era of growth which the Western world has experienced since the Second World War is coming to an end is seen by Miegel as a challenge and at the same time as an opportunity. This growth has long ceased to augment our material wealth. It is consuming it. It overtaxes natural resources, the environment and not least humans. The call for a more intelligent handling of Earth's goods, for respect for the environment and nature, and above all for a fundamental change in the understanding of our possibilities and needs is urgent. Everything is at stake, for it is about something no less than a concept for life which is viable for the future.

Miegel provides a brilliant diagnosis of our times and a convincing plan of what is to be done. A trailblazing book.

Meinhard Miegel (2010), Exit. Wohlstand ohne Wachstum, Propyläen-Verlag, Berlin 2010