In this fourth and last part of [ECO]NOMICS, Prof. Schor explores the structural changes necessary to live within planetary boundaries.
For starters, we need to improve our understanding of human well-being. Public policy has focused on a single flawed number - GDP - ignoring that higher quality of life can be achieved on other dimensions, like fewer working hours. While growth is essential for poor countries to achieve decent standards of living, after a certain threshold, the incremental benefits of increasing GDP are fewer and unequally distributed. Prof. Schor shows it is both economically and technically feasible to achieve high levels of well-being without fossil fuels. Climate policy should jettison the growth imperative, but it cannot overlook the equality imperative. We are in a climate crisis because of inequalities of power and resources, both within countries and globally.
Prof. Schor outlines what needs to be done to address climate destabilization successfully and efficiently: mandate shifts to clean renewable energy, democratic control of investment flows, and a just transition with equity at its core. The State needs to be at the center of this response. But Prof. Schor warns that concentrations of wealth often translate into control of the State and policy inaction, so we need to also address the distribution of power and democratization. In light of recent tendencies, a large and vigorous social movement may be necessary to spur our governments to act.