chapter  3
Towards a sustainable flourishing
Democracy, hedonism and the politics of prosperity
ByKate Soper
Pages 12

This chapter addresses the concept of prosperity associated with the market-driven consumerist way of living. It focuses on what is probably the most intractable conceptual issue that arises in this general area: that of the criteria and norms of a so-called 'sustainable' consumption. Since no global economic order can be said to be sustainable unless it can avoid those kinds of outcome, what is more truly sustainable will necessarily involve a more co-operative, less competitive global order, and a significant re-distribution of wealth and access to resources. Alternative hedonism challenges that notion of regression. It is premised on the idea that even if the consumerist lifestyle were indefinitely sustainable it would not enhance human happiness and well-being. And it claims that it is emergent forms of desire rather than fears of ecological disaster that are likely to have most impact in any move towards more sustainable modes of consuming.