© 2017

Postgrowth and Wellbeing

Challenges to Sustainable Welfare


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Milena Büchs, Max Koch
    Pages 1-8
  3. Milena Büchs, Max Koch
    Pages 9-24
  4. Milena Büchs, Max Koch
    Pages 25-37
  5. Milena Büchs, Max Koch
    Pages 39-56
  6. Milena Büchs, Max Koch
    Pages 57-87
  7. Milena Büchs, Max Koch
    Pages 89-102
  8. Milena Büchs, Max Koch
    Pages 103-123
  9. Milena Büchs, Max Koch
    Pages 125-133
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 135-144

About this book


This book presents a detailed and critical discussion about how human wellbeing can be maintained and improved in a postgrowth era. It highlights the close links between economic growth, market capitalism, and the welfare state demonstrating that, in many ways, wellbeing outcomes currently depend on the growth paradigm. Here the authors argue that notions of basic human needs deserve greater emphasis in debates on postgrowth because they are more compatible with limits to growth. Drawing on theories of social practices, the book explores structural barriers to transitions to a postgrowth society, and ends with suggestions for policies and institutions that could support wellbeing in the context of postgrowth. This thought-provoking work makes a valuable contribution to debates surrounding climate change, sustainability, welfare states and inequality and will appeal to students and scholars of social policy, sociology, political science, economics, political ecology and human geography.


degrowth Welfare States Climate change steady state economy secular stagnation postgrowth the growth paradigm sustainable welfare ecological economics social practice theory measures of wellbeing eco-social policies welfare economics environmental policy planetary boundaries Limits to growth subjective and objective wellbeing human needs adaptive preferences loss aversion

Authors and affiliations

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

About the authors

Milena Büchs is Associate Professor in Sustainability, Economics and Low Carbon Transitions, University of Leeds, UK.

Max Koch is Professor in Social Policy at Lund University, Sweden. 

Bibliographic information


“Post-growth and Well-being is a timely and systematic account of the post-growth literature. The book methodically highlights important social science theories and approaches towards a sustainable economy and the implications for both environmental and human well-being. … Overall the authors present complicated and, arguably, potentially disempowering ideas to the reader in a clear and concise manner … .” (Rachel Manning, Environmental Values, Vol. 27 (06), December, 2018)

“This concise and comprehensible book provides a very gratifying and manageable reading experience. The structure of the book is coherent with short chapters each beginning with an abstract and ending with an informative conclusion. … highly recommended reading for all interested in the future of welfare systems and the sustainability of income protection.” (Tuuli Hirvilammi, Basic Income Studies, July, 2018)

“Postgrowth and Wellbeing should serve as a reference work for scholars, students and activists engaged in supporting societal transitions towards post-growth societies. Büch and Koch … stress that, unless the socioeconomic, technological and political articulations framing unsustainable practices are addressed simultaneously, basic needs for health and autonomy may suffer.” (Monica Guillen-Royo, Ecological Economics, Vol. 146, April, 2018)