My guest today is Tim Jackson. Tim is Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey where he’s Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP). He’s spent over thirty years involved in multi-disciplinary research and policy development on sustainability, in particular his work as Economics Commissioner on the UK Sustainable Development Commission.
Tim is probably best known around the world as the author of ‘Prosperity Without Growth’, a polemic treatise on our addiction to economic growth that he first published in 2009 in the immediate aftermath of the global financial crisis, and that he has recently re-published as a substantially revised and updated 2nd edition.
What’s not so well known is Tim’s parallel career as an award-winning playwright with numerous radio-writing credits for the BBC.
I spoke to Tim online from his office at the University of Surrey in the UK.
We talk about him feeling compelled to become a reluctant, accidental economist, in order to master the arguments for why the human race behaved the way it did, so he could unpick them. We talk about the creative tension between left brain and right brain, which one of them is really in control, and how his parallel career as a playwright nourishes his work as an academic. We talk about AI and why we must cling onto humanity, and the inner core of what the human spirit is, as our central tenet of progress.