This book combines political economy and social practice perspectives to highlight the challenges of achieving wellbeing goals under postgrowth. Our review of assumptions about wellbeing in postgrowth debates first highlights potential problems with theories of adaptive preferences. While preferences may easily adapt upwards when living standards improve, the concept of loss aversion and evidence on wellbeing in times of economic crisis suggest that they do not adapt equally well downwards. Second, social practice theory helps us understand the enormous challenges which will be involved in decoupling the generation of wellbeing from its current embeddedness in growth-based market capitalism and a range of other closely linked structures. Conceptually, the debate should focus on basic human needs as is it compatible with postgrowth premises. Finally, institutional contexts, especially those that promote greater social equality, will be crucial for supporting wellbeing under postgrowth.


Postgrowth Wellbeing Social practices Political economy Human needs 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Lund UniversityLundSweden

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