The world’s leading economies are facing not just one but many crises. The financial meltdown may not be over, climate change threatens major global disruption, economic inequality has reached extremes not seen for a century, and government and business are widely distrusted. At the same time, many people regret the consumerism and social corrosion of modern life. What these crises have in common, Diane Coyle argues, is a reckless disregard for the future—especially in the way the economy is run. How can we achieve the financial growth we need today without sacrificing a decent future for our children, our societies, and our planet? How can we realize what Coyle calls “the Economics of Enough”?
Running the economy for tomorrow as well as today will require a wide range of policy changes. The top priority must be ensuring that we get a true picture of long-term economic prospects, with the development of official statistics on national wealth in its broadest sense, including natural and human resources. Saving and investment will need to be encouraged over current consumption. Above all, governments will need to engage citizens in a process of debate about the difficult choices that lie ahead and rebuild a shared commitment to the future of our societies.
Creating a sustainable economy—having enough to be happy without cheating the future—won’t be easy. But The Economics of Enough starts a profoundly important conversation about how we can begin—and the first steps we need to take.
Awards and Recognition
- One of The Globalist's Top Books of 2012
"In The Economics of Enough, Ms. Coyle adds a knowledgeable and earnest voice to the discussion about how to face these global challenges. . . . Ms. Coyle has written a thoughtful, sprawling work. I was impressed with both the magnitude of the subject matter and her keen grasp of it. . . . Coyle has made an important contribution to the debate on the nature of global capitalism."—Nancy F. Koehn, New York Times
"If widely read, [The Economics of Enough] could be the twenty-first century's basic action manual. Like the best political philosophers, Coyle does not merely present the gritty reality of politics (or political economy, in this case), but gives us a roadmap out of our collective swamp. . . . [T]he book is a small wonder."—Joel Campbell, International Affairs
"If Diane Coyle had written The Economics of Enough a year or so earlier, a British political party would probably have laid claim to its message during the general election campaign. Coyle's work manages to tie up fiscal policy, inequality and the environment with reflection on civil society. . . . Coyle makes a particularly effective assault on the view, often espoused by environmentalists, that economic growth ought not to be a policy goal. While she calls for other objectives—and the use of a greater range of economic indicators—she backs output growth as an objective. . . . [A] solid guide to the challenges that face governments in the coming years."—Christopher Cook, Financial Times
"[Coyle's] insistence that the crisis is essentially one of trust and governance is important—and increasingly relevant as we watch our leaders failing to tame our reckless financial overlords."—Fred Pearce, Independent
"Coyle's book is . . . a very welcome supplement to the current dearth of smart, broad, readable economic literature now available. . . . Coyle's book demonstrates her to be a political economist of the old school, concerned with economics as a truly social science rather than an abstract mass of numbers. As such, her work merits a much broader audience than it is likely to find in our contemporary political climate."—Matthew Kaul, Englewood Review of Books
"Are we bankrupt? Are countries like the US and the UK in as much fiscal trouble as Ireland or Greece? The bond markets say no: they've been quite content to lend to the UK and the US as though they were low-risk propositions, and perhaps they are right. But even if bond holders look safe enough, citizens may not be. Diane Coyle, author of a new book, The Economics of Enough, argues that we need to go beyond traditional measures of debt in thinking about future obligations."—Tim Harford, Financial Times
"Designed for readers well versed in economics, this book offers an in-depth economic analysis that often supports arguments with philosophical and sociological theories."—Caroline Geck, Library Journal
"A grim view of the economic future and suggestions on how to sway the outcome, one penny at a time. In this highly informed analysis, British economist Coyle (The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why It Matters, 2007, etc.) posits as a given that 'more money makes people happier because it means they can buy more.' . . . There's much to digest here, so the author's tendency to repeat herself turns out to be helpful. Tough trekking but well worth the journey for this top-rank economist's view from the summit."—Kirkus Reviews
"There is much good sense in The Economics of Enough, and Coyle writes efficiently and clearly."—Howard Davies, Times Higher Education
"There is much good thinking and plenty of good ideas in [T]he Economics of Enough. For many readers, the book will be a revelation in just how far we have moved from economics as a 'dismal science.' For the business reader, Coyle opens up a range of broader perspectives that will on the one hand challenge the neo-classical economic purist and, on the other, will encourage those who want their children to have more than a dismal future, to do something about it."—Roger Steare, Management Today
"[A] compelling call to action. . . . [T]his is a powerful, thought-provoking and timely contribution to the debate on the evolving shape of society."—Dimitri Zenghelis, Nature Climate Change
"From the somewhat playful Sex, Drugs, and Economics, to the more descriptive and objective The Soulful Science, economist and superb writer (too often mutually exclusive categories) Coyle presents her more general assessment in The Economics of Enough. Blending economics with politics and philosophy, she uses the recent financial crisis as an opportunity to discuss a number of grander themes with the goal of a better and sustainable future, which is to be aided and abetted by a better-informed citizenry led not by an invisible hand but by the fist of more enlightened government."—Choice
"The Economics of Enough is a thoughtful and reflective piece addressing the interplay between governments and markets in a 'post-financial crisis' world. . . . The book serves as a good foil for deeper discussions of the implications and results of the attempt to govern complex systems—both political and economic—fraught with their inevitable webs of adverse selection, moral hazard, and self-interest."—Bradley K Hobbs, EH.Net
"Unlike many economists, Diane Coyle is a worldly philosopher! This nuanced book provides an illuminating analysis of the key debate over whether free market growth translates into improvements in our quality of life."—Matthew E. Kahn, University of California, Los Angeles
"This is a fine and interesting book with plenty of wise observations and good economic analysis. Diane Coyle is a terrific writer and an economist of real insight."—Edward Glaeser, Harvard University
"Diane Coyle has written a lively and challenging examination of the state of economic policymaking following the recent financial crisis."—Nicholas Crafts, Warwick University