What would a sustainable economy look like? What would it take to live within our environmental means? Legacy answers these and other questions, setting out the key features of the sustainable economy. It explains what it would take to properly maintain different types of capital, why polluters would have to pay, why the current generation would have to fund the necessary maintenance of our natural assets, and why we would have to save to invest. The message is a tough one: we are way off course in terms of meeting these conditions and we cannot escape the consequences. This book explains what we would have to do to mend our ways. In doing so, it highlights the feebleness of current approaches to net zero and biodiversity loss as well as our great neglect of the core infrastructures, and why we are not meeting our duties to the next generation.
2. The next generation
3. Taking precautions, building resilience
4. The capitals
5. Sustainable accounting and the balance sheet
6. Polluter pays
7. Public goods and zero marginal costs
8. Sustainable consumption, deficits and debt
9. Social justice
10. Delivering the system plans
11. A new constitution
12. Conclusions: it could go either way
Sir Dieter Helm is a Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow in Economics at New College, Oxford. From 2012 to 2020, he was the Independent Chair of the UK Natural Capital Committee, providing advice to the government on the sustainable use of natural capital. He provides extensive expert advice to governments, regulators and companies across three key areas: Energy & Climate; Regulation, Utilities & Infrastructure; and Natural Capital & the Environment. Dieter is a Vice President of the Exmoor Society, a Vice President of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, and an Honorary Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford.
"This is a powerful argument for valuing future generations which means saving and investing now so as to live sustainably."
– David Willetts, President of the Resolution Foundation and author of The Pinch
"This is a hugely important book from a powerful thinker and writer. We are living with crumbling infrastructures, decaying social fabrics, excessive pollution and mass biodiversity loss. Our economies are not sustainable. Sir Dieter's sharp observation is that 'what is not sustainable will not be sustained'. Legacy clearly and potently charts a course from dystopia to utopia. If you care about the fate of humanity, you should read this book and recommend it to others."
– Cameron Hepburn, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford
"Dieter Helm does not pull his punches in this forthright and powerful book. What is unsustainable can, he insists, not be sustained. To avoid disaster, we must transform how we live. Above all, we must all pay for the maintenance of core natural assets, instead of living well off their destruction. This will demand radical changes in how we live our lives, individually and collectively. Some will assert that the revolution he seeks is impossible. Helm counters that it is inescapable."
– Martin Wolf, Financial Times