A couple of things I’ve come across this week really struck a chord.

First, this tweet from Martin Tye.

Second, this article from Will Hutton, and in particular its subheading:

Societies must learn to use economics to help provide purpose and fulfilment.

Both the hashtag #BetterNotBigger (actually the campaign slogan for the Sustainable Australia party) and the subheading are simple calls to action prompting us to think about what kind of economy we want and how it can better serve us and the environment.

They quite succinctly encapsulate what I believe is an important aspect of sustainability – creating economies (or an economics) with other purposes than growth, mass production and consumption.

That is to say economies that are smarter (using science, data, international coordination, policy and the market to more efficiently allocate limited resources) and better (providing for the greatest good in quality of life, civilisational stability and environmental sustainability).

We need to lose our obsession with growing bigger and having more and instead think smarter and build and use better.

An economic focus on mass manufacturing and consumption-based growth makes sense to a point to lift a country out of poverty but once developed, with an information and service-based economy, this focus should shift to providing us well-being, purpose and environmental stewardship as well as prosperity and economic stability.

This is one of our key challenges and opportunities in creating a sustainable world and these two messages are a simple and concise way of conceptualising this.


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