chapter  1
Enough is enough?
Re-imagining an ethics and aesthetics of sustainability for the twenty-first century
ByLawrence Buell
Pages 20

Sustainability' and 'the good life' are both very elastic terms - so elastic as to raise suspicions of bad faith. On the other hand, 'sustainability' has a bad history of being co-opted as a euphemism in order to justify a degree of economic development only a little less bad than worst-case exploitation. Certainly not the economist who pursues 'economic growth' as the highest of all values, and therefore has no concept of 'enough'. During the nineteenth century, the argue led to a fetishization of economic growth that still persists as the key measure of social well-being and, concomitantly, to the displacement of traditional sufficiency-based models of the good life by an ethos of ceaseless striving after progress and improvement. As this chapter has suggested, action at the individual level is a far simpler, more straightforward matter than action at a collective level, especially in proportion to the size, heterogeneity and jurisdictional complexity of the level of the collective in question.