The Economics of Needs and Limits (ENL) is a new guiding framework for a fair and sustainable economy designed to ensure long-term human well-being within environmental limits.
ENL starts from the ethical viewpoint that all human beings, present and future, are of high and equal worth. A rational economy must provide for people's needs within nature's constraints, and therefore should aim:
- to maximize the well-being of each individual, and
- to prevent any individual benefitting from the deprivation of another (present or future) individual.
ENL provides the concepts and analytical tools to steward resources in a post-capitalist economy. It is also a comprehensive model for reversing the predicament of overshoot which is now threatening to trigger ecological collapse on a global scale.
Capitalism as a system is driven by its internal dynamic of perpetual expansion to remorselessly exhaust the world's natural resources. This system relies upon the economic exploitation, political domination and social control of the many by the few.
Mainstream economic thought provides a camouflage of ideological respectability, concealing the logic which leads inevitably to such destruction and inequity.
Supporters of ENL recognise that a revolutionary change is urgently needed to replace the ecocidal logic of capitalism with a new approach, one in which human health and equity become the measure of economic success, and where human prosperity can be attained within the balance of nature.
ENL provides us with a concrete response to the perpetual question: So what's your alternative to capitalism?
Using this website
ENL Wiki presents the key concepts of ENL, adapting with permission the work of its creator Frank Rotering, as developed his book The Economics of Needs and Limits, which is free to download as a PDF here or from his website at contractionism.org.
For a complete overview of ENL read the material in the sequence shown below.
Click on a section heading to show its contents in the suggested reading order.
You can read the pages in the suggested order by following the linear thread links on each page, starting here.
Because ENL is a new mode of economic thought, it unavoidably introduces a number of technical terms. Please consult the glossary for definitions.
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