books business growth

How on earth? – help a radical idea on its way

My friends at the PostGrowth Institute have a new project I want to tell you about. They’re setting out to write a book on not-for-profit business and how it contributes to a sustainable economy. This is new research. I’m not aware of anyone else taking this angle on the new economy, so it’s work that deserves a proper investigation. I’ll be reading the book when it comes out, so I’m supporting the crowdfunding initiative to make it happen. Can you help too?

Here’s the introductory video. It’s full of ideas and projects that I’ve written about on the blog in the past, but it ties them together in new ways, and I’m excited to explore the not-for-profit concept a little further. If you  want to know a little more, check out Donnie MacLurcan’s recent talk on the matter.

The crowdfunding campaign for How On Earth? Flourishing in a Not For Profit World by 2050 launches on Indiegogo today.


  1. Dear Jeremy, this is very interesting. Thank you for keeping us so well informed. My question is how does this differ from the International Common Ownership Movement?

    1. I believe that’s now part of Cooperatives UK, which helps to develop and promote Co-ops in Britain. The book might touch on that, but I expect it will be a much broader overview. But I don’t know, because it hasn’t been written yet!

  2. Developing local economies bottom up was the approach proposed in the P-CED white paper. It put forward a “profit for purpose” business model as a replacement for the non proift paradigm.

    It was something I described as pst growth people centered local economies.

    The proof of concept was a project in Russia which would invert the earlier top down approach to development with a microfinance banking initiative which was repliaced in other regions.

    The term people-centered economic development is also being used by Local Food Systems Inc in the US and the Forward Foundation compares 20th century production centered economies with 21st century sharing and people centered local economies.

    1. Yes, I think there’s a lot of synergy here between what they are proposing and your work. You might want to drop them a line and make sure they’re aware of People Centred Economics!

  3. Their proposed study does not seem to reference historical developments like friendly societies, coops and other mutuals, and Muhammad Yunus’ work promoting ‘Social Businesses’. Does anyone have any ideas why this may be? I’ve tried to search PGI’s own site and can’t (so far) find any info relevant to this question – hence asking it here.

    1. Hi Marcus, On Linkedin I manage two groups which may be of interest in this regard. Social Business and For Benefit Corporations is for business based on Yunus’ non dividend distributing approach and Community Benefit Societies are about the mutual moded that serves the community rather than its members.

      We align with Yunus, in seeing the bottom line as those people in greatest need.

      1. Tnanks Donnie, I too have noted how Dr Yunus, sometimes responds with a throwaway line. It happened when questioned in London on dealing with mafia.

        Yunus binds his social business model to corporations as an add on rather than modifying the core business. For example in Scotland with Tesco,which clearly isn’t heading toward sustainable local economies.

        In recent days, looking at several models for local economic development, I hoped to illustrate thare a case for moving from the production centric model toward that which focuses on people’s needs.

      1. Thanks for your response, Donnie. I was interested to read your article. Regarding your critique of Yunus’ response regarding continued growth, isn’t it important to clarify what kind of growth, and in what location/setting? I think that most Bangladeshis probably should continue to grow in economic activity for a while yet, and we in developed countries need to grow in the diversity, resilience, equity and sustainability of the way we are doing things. And creativity is very relevant to continuing to grow in the overall richness and quality of our living, which may not have any limits for the forseeable future – although we need to do much more work to understand and define what this overall ‘quality’ means.

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