Plutarch's Table

A Meaningful Prosperity | October 5, 2010

In this excellent TED talk, Tim Jackson discusses his book Prosperity without Growth, and proposes the idea of a meaningful prosperity.  We are caught in the trap of economic growth, where “people are being persuaded to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need, to create impressions that won’t last on people we don’t care about”, he argues, and this can only continue to contribute to poverty, environmental degradation and economic crisis, as well as the nurturing of our selfish elements at the expense of our altruistic capacities.  I really like this notion of a meaningful prosperity – a prosperity that is not primarily materialistic in nature, but that includes the ability to feed ones family and enjoy the fruits of ones labour.  I assume he elaborates on this concept in the book, which I’ll have to add to my list, but in the meantime I am very interested in thinking about what this meaningful prosperity model would look like.  As Jackson points out, it’s not a new idea, but it is certainly unfamiliar for many of us who have grown up in a world where what you have is what you are.  More to come…



  1. What is happening with your blog. I just stumbled across it and read your posts. Your writing is quite intersting. Would love it if you picked it back up.

    Comment by Ken Pense — July 20, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

    • Hi Ken,
      Thanks for your interest. Have been sidetracked of late, but do intend to start posting again very soon.

      Comment by Joanna Polley — August 17, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

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About author

My name is Joanna Polley. I am a writer and a philosopher experimenting with ways of practicing and teaching philosophy outside of the university environment. I completed my PhD at the University of Toronto and have taught for several years in the departments of philosophy and literary studies, and am currently exploring ways to bring philosophy out of the ivory tower and into the wider public sphere. My specific research interests have been in the history of philosophy, philosophy of language and culture and the philosophy of literature, but I am interested in any philosophy that helps illuminate contemporary problems and deepens our experience of being alive. You can also visit me at for information about my philosophical therapy services.







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