On both right and left, all major political parties in the Western world share the same belief: that the first objective of government should be to raise the rate of economic growth. Politicians and opinion makers all agree this is the way to a better future, yet after decades of sustained economic growth, people do not feel any better off. Clive Hamilton shows how the feverish pursuit of economic growth has been used to justify the radical transformation of government, of work and also of leisure since the 1980s. Yet this has been in vain. For the evidence is that more growth in the economy and more income is not making individuals any happier. Hamilton argues that "growth fetishism" lies at the heart of our social, political and environmental ills. It is the basis of consumer society and of the manufactured personal identity created by a marketing culture. Challenging mainstream political and economic thought, Hamilton outlines a new political philosophy which promotes the things which genuinely improve social and personal well-being.
Introduction1. Growth fetishismThe growth fetishEconomists on wellbeingThe great contradictionPolitical implications2. Growth and wellbeingIncome Personal happinessValues and meaningAlternative measures 3. IdentityHaving and wantingConsumption and the modern selfMarketingOverconsumption 4. ProgressThe idea of progressOppression and liberationGlobalisation 5. PoliticsThe Third WayThe power of economic ideasPower and equality6. WorkRethinking workThe new labour marketIn praise of houseworkWork in a post-growth world7. EnvironmentThe voraciousness of growthThe conquering spiritA philosophical transitionEnvironmentalism and social democracy8. The post-growth societyEudemonism: the politics of happinessThe economyPower and social structurePolitical downshiftingNotesIndex