In search of a moral economy: how do we achieve sustainable prosperity?

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Goldsmiths, University of London is among the institutions joining the University of Surrey in the establishment of a new research centre exploring the complex relationship between prosperity - our aspirations for the good life - and the social and environmental constraints of a finite planet.

Backed by a £6m research grant from the ESRC, the international Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) will be led by the University of Surrey‘s Professor Tim Jackson, an internationally renowned expert in sustainable development.

CUSP will establish a five-year multidisciplinary research programme commencing in January 2016.

Dr Will Davies, Senior Lecturer in Politics at Goldsmiths and co-director of the Goldsmiths Political Economy Research Centre (PERC), will lead research exploring the moral framing and contested meanings of prosperity itself, asking how we can bring morality and justice to contemporary capitalism.

Taking a broadly philosophical approach, he will examine how people, enterprise and government negotiate the tensions between sustainability and prosperity. 

Professor Tim Jackson said: “This is a tremendously exciting and very timely opportunity. Our guiding vision for sustainable prosperity is one in which people everywhere have the capability to flourish as human beings - within the ‘safe operating space’ of a finite planet.

”CUSP’s work will be to elaborate that vision, test its viability and explore its social and economic implications.”

Engaging with business, government and civil society

The Centre will take the form of an international network, drawing together expert partners from academic and non-academic institutions and spanning numerous academic disciplines.

CUSP will pay particular attention to the pragmatic steps that need to be taken to achieve sustainable prosperity and will engage with business, government and civil society in order to explore practical actions and propose supportive policies.

A core element in this engagement will be a wide-ranging, international dialogue to be chaired by Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Find out more

The CUSP work programme will commence in January 2016.

An overview of the Centre’s guiding vision and more detail on the work programme and partners can be found at and on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn