A Viable Future? Explorations in post-growth – free ebook

Our collection of writings is now available.

A Viable Future? Explorations in post-growth from Steady State Manchester is a collection of our work from the last decade.

This monster (it’s nearly 400 pages long) is available as a free ebook, in both epub and pdf formats. A paperback version is now available at little more than cost price – go to our shop page to order or click the button below.


Click here to see the book contents (opens in new tab/window)

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Alternative link for pdf here.


This book is unusual in combining a practical local perspective, grounded in the Greater Manchester region, with a conceptual understanding of the dimensions of the existential ecological and social crisis that we are living through.  It will be a valuable resource for members of the degrowth movement and their allies, whether activists, scholars, or those working within existing systems such as government agencies.

Federico Demaria, University of Barcelona, co-editor of Degrowth and Pluriverse, co-author of The case for degrowth.

For the last 14 years Steady State Manchester has consistently produced critical and constructive writing that challenges not only the status quo extractive economy, but even some of the popular alternatives. They have done this from a real place and context, moving their work from purely theoretical, to deeply practical, even personal. The analysis is deep and clearly argued. Post Covid and in the midst of escalating climate disruption, we must rethink the very foundations of our economy, putting the wellbeing of people and place firmly in the centre of our designs. I recommend this collection of essays as invaluable reading for permaculture designers, degrowthers and climate activists, ecological and political economists, policy makers and indeed anyone serious about creating an economy that genuinely works for people and planet.

Andy Goldring, PermacultureAssociation CEO, trainer, activist / Our Future Leeds City Hub Coordinator.

Manchester has always played a central role in the world history. Manchester was at the heart of the growth of both industrial capitalism and the resulting strong and violently repressed social and emancipatory movements. So it is logical and fruitful to go back to Greater Manchester and explore the continuity of such movements questioning the pillars of our Western model of society based on capitalism, neoliberalism, productivism or consumerism. This book is an invitation to explore the rich experience of the Steady State Manchester collective fighting against our toxic addictions to economic growth and reflecting on their activism and intellectual and academic debates. This journey can provide meaningful thoughts but also feedback and examples on different levels and strategies to bring out the broad in-depth philosophy behind Post-Growth or degrowth in a practical and pragmatic ways.

Vincent Liegey, co-author of Exploring Degrowth: A Critical Guide (Pluto Press, 2020).

For the past 14 years, a plucky and fearless group of citizen-scholars has been taking the ideas of post-growth to the heartland of the industrial revolution: the city of Manchester. This book covers the wide-ranging contributions of Steady State Manchester, from local campaigns on urban planning to universal considerations on alternative economics. Its stands as a testament to the fact that a small & dedicated group of people can achieve huge feats of civic creativity, and should serve as a basis of reflection and inspiration for many others around the world.

Professor Julia Steinberger, Institute of Geography & Sustainability, Faculty of Geosciences & Environment, University of Lausanne.

This collection of reports, articles and new commentary from Steady State Manchester is a vital resource for anyone living in Greater Manchester who wants to see system change.

This book is for you if you’ve heard of Positive Money but aren’t sure if their ideas map onto a de-growth agenda (they don’t), or have wondered if in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals we would be living within planetary limits (sadly not). The authors’ starting premise that the economy must be socially and ecologically viable provides a yardstick with which to judge a range of political economy, monetary and social policy approaches at different scales.

The book leaves you in no doubt about the enormity of the challenges but offers ways forward and highlights principles with which to align other work, proposing workable policies to inspire activists, academics and the Greater Manchester policy community as a whole. This anchoring of action at the Greater Manchester (‘bioregional’) level helps distract from paralysing gloom and creates a sense of potential to participate in the work of radical re-prioritisation.

Although they don’t flinch from hard truths, Steady State Manchester encourage us to think that we all can contribute to building resilience and helping prefigure the kind of change that’s needed at pace and at scale.

Hannah Berry, Greater Manchester Housing Action.

Steady State Manchester provide a welcome challenge to the continued drive for economic growth in the city.  Better still, they hold an important space for the people of the city to deliberate and to design a viable alternative; an economy that works for people, place and planet, not just the pockets of a few.  It is great to see the evolution of their collective thinking pulled together in one book.  I urge you to read, pull apart, scribble on as you wish.  Most importantly I urge you to join in the conversation, to help reimagine and to dig in as stewards of Manchester and earthlings of this planet, we are lucky to call home.

Eve Holt, Councillor, Manchester City Council; Director Happen Together CIC and Manchester resident.

This book is testament to the enduring influence, relevance and persistence of the ideas and energies of Steady State Manchester. ”A Viable Future” is grounded in experience and practical knowledge within a clear intellectual framework that pushes forward understanding and action about the options and limits for post-growth. Greater Manchester provides the bedrock for testing and exploring far-reaching propositions that extend across economy, welfare, environment, planning and politics. A must-read for anyone committed to researching and enacting systemic transformations.

Professor Beth Perry, Urban Institute, University of Sheffield

An eye-opener that shows how the privatization of gains and socialization of pains – both social and environmental costs, can be reimagined, deliberated democratically and reversed! The most appealing aspect of this book is its engagement at the meso level. This is a book from the optimal ‘halfway down the stairs’ position, contrasting with the fool’s paradise of continuous economic growth, a bridge book that lays down the choices involved in our transitions to a sustainable and fair world. The bioregional conceptualization brings pragmatic social and economic opportunities and highlights the philosophical implications for science and policy, where the stocks, funds and flows of matter and energy as well as the information about multiple biophysical, social and economic interactions and exchanges are made visible, happy and fair.

Dr. Rajeswari S. Raina, Professor: School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh, India. Co-editor, Post-growth thinking in India (2018).

In this book Steady State Manchester powerfully shows that to bring about a Viable Future, it is crucial to think and act both locally and globally. Place, they argue, is fundamental for imagining alternatives, whilst inseparable from worldwide efforts to tackle crises of planetary scale. Taking the reader through local struggles and activism in Greater Manchester, politics and policy proposals in the region, the UK and beyond, this book debunks false solutions and inspires thinking.

Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Lund University, co-editor of Towards a Political Economy of Degrowth and member of the editorial collective of ephemera journal.

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3 Responses to A Viable Future? Explorations in post-growth – free ebook

  1. Hi Mark, I’d very much like a paperback version – do you know when one might be made available?

  2. Pingback: Can Cop26 lead to a viable future? We ask Manchester’s post growth expert - The Meteor

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