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Living within our means

living within our means: avoiding the ultimate recession

by jonathon porritt

'The recession we’re in right now
is going to be very grim
but nothing like as grim
as the recession that awaits us
if we don’t start
living within our means'

The document covers:
The end of capitalism as we’ve known it
Causes and effects
Reframing capitalism
A sustainable new deal
Avoiding the ultimate recession

Jonathon Porritt, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future and Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, is an eminent writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development. Established in 1996, Forum for the Future is now the UK’s leading sustainable development charity, with 70 staff and over 100 partner organisations, including some of the world’s leading companies.

'We now know, to our great cost, that it does not make sense:
• to stimulate growth through an ideologically-driven deregulation of capital markets and a weakening of all regulatory controls
• to stimulate economic growth by freeing up access to
unprecedentedly high levels of credit and by building up both
personal and national debt on an equally unprecedented scale
• to licence the continuing externalisation of cost for short-term economic gain, knowing full well how badly this would distort markets over the long run
• to misprice risk by assuming that asset values would continue to rise indefi nitely into the future
• to consume vastly more, as a country, than we are able
to produce, and somehow assume that there will be
no fi nal reckoning for this
• to allocate capital in such a way as to favour short-term
profit maximisation rather than long-term value creation
• to rely on the metrics of economic growth (GDP and
per-capita income) as the pre-eminent measures of
progress in society, ignoring all other aspects of societal
and personal well being
• to treat people exclusively as consumers rather than
as citizens, and simultaneously to prioritise the interest
of corporations over the interests of citizens
• to condone (and even promote) private greed on the
assumption that this would somehow lead to greater
public benefi t
• to rely on the volunteerism of Corporate Social
Responsibility as the principal mechanism for aligning
corporate interests with the interests of society at large.'

The full document is here: