CMS Webinar: Addicted to Growth: Societal Therapy for a Sustainable Wellbeing Future - by Prof Bob Costanza

Published: 11/10/2022

Abstract: Our global society is severely addicted to a particular vision of the world and a future that has become both unsustainable and undesirable. The facts about our predicament – climate and environmental disruption, biodiversity loss, growing inequality, financial instability, eroding democracy – have been known for decades. However, the solutions have also been known for just as long. So why have we not made faster progress? What is holding us back? This talk frames our current predicament as a societal addiction to a ‘growth at all costs’ economic paradigm. While economic growth has produced many benefits, its side effects are now producing existential problems that are rapidly getting worse. We can learn from what works at the individual level to overcome addictions to design therapies that may work at the societal scale. The first step to recovery is recognizing the addiction and that it is leading to disaster. However, simply pointing out the dire consequences of our societal addiction can be counterproductive by itself in motivating change. The key next step is creating a truly shared vision of the kind of world we all want. We need to design and test creative ways to implement this societal therapy. The final step is using that shared vision to motivate the changes needed to achieve it, including adaptive transformations of our economic systems, property rights regimes, and governance institutions.

University of TasmaniaInstitute of Marine and Antarctic StudiesCSIRO Department of the EnvironmentGEOS
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