Entries by Amelia Jaycen

A Journey of No Return, Not a Circular Economy

By Herman Daly

The economic process is not a mechanical analog that can be run forward and backward, nor a circular process that can return to any previous state. Rather it is an irreversible and irrevocable process moving in the direction of time’s arrow of increasing entropy [1]. Finitude and entropy guarantee that the economic life of our species will be a journey of no return. Therefore even a stationary economy, in the classical sense of constant population and constant capital stock, is ultimately a journey of no return, because the metabolic throughput of matter and energy required to maintain constant stocks of people and physical capital, in the face of depreciation and death, is an entropic flow from ever less concentrated sources to ever filling sinks – and both sources and sinks are finite.

The Green New Deal: What’s Really Green and What’s Really New

By Brian Czech

Ask Americans what the Green New Deal is all about, and you’ll get two basic answers. Most often you’ll hear, “It’s about moving to renewable energy in order to fight climate change.” You’ll also hear, from a camp further right, “It’s all about socialism!” Either way, the really green, really new feature is overlooked. What the Green New Deal is really about is the transition to a steady state economy. At least, that’s what it must be about, to be truly green and new. Let’s start with green. “Green” connotes environmental protection. Some may view it naively as a tree hugger’s agenda, but ultimately, it’s about economic sustainability. That’s because economic activity starts from deep in the environment; namely with the agricultural and extractive sectors.

A Country of Immigrants

By Herman Daly

Historically, the U.S. is undeniably a country of immigrants. But why is this uncontested fact so repeatedly emphasized? Might the unremitting celebration of immigration as a policy (as opposed to the celebration of particular immigrants as people) obscure a dark side of our immigration history?

“Driving” the Growth of Local Economies: Farming or Financing?

By Brian Czech

Among today’s headlines is the pedestrian-sounding “Colin Hanna: Economic growth, new jobs, strengthened pensions.” Author Hanna, surely a well-meaning soul, is pitching the merits of the private equity “industry.” The problem is, Hanna goes so far as to reference “the industry’s clear record of driving economic growth.”

Neocornucopianism and the Steady State: Part I

By Josh Farley

Perhaps the main reason people reject the need for a steady state economy is some form of cornucopianism, the belief that technological progress will overcome all ecological and physical limits, allowing endless economic growth into the indefinite future. Cornucopianism has several flavors, and I will describe three: mainstream economics, eco-modernism, and singularity theory.

Population and the Steady State Economy

By Max Kummerow

Sir David Attenborough remarked in a 2011 presidential lecture to the Royal Society that “every environmental and social problem is made more difficult and ultimately impossible to solve with ever more people.” Wherever women’s status has improved and societies modernized, he said, birth rates have fallen. He begged his audience to “talk about population.”

A Not-So-Nobel Prize for Growth Economists

By Brian Czech

How ironic for the Washington Post to opine “Earth may have no tomorrow” and, two pages later, offer up the mini-bios of William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, described as Nobel Prize winners.

Without more rigorous news coverage, few indeed will know that Nordhaus and Romer are epitomes of neoclassical economics, that 20th century occupation isolated from the realities of natural science. Nordhaus and Romer may deserve their prizes for economic modeling, but each gets an F in advanced sustainability.

Gross Domestic Problem On World Animal Day

By Brian Czech

If you like animals, your feelings may have been nurtured by “Hedgehogs Being Adorable,” “Baby Hippo Has Won Our Hearts,” and other such gems. The Huffington Post, The Animal Blog, and various animal-lover media take a heartfelt approach to the appreciation of animals—wild as well as domesticated—reminding us of the needs and vulnerabilities of our fellow creatures. It’s a refreshing approach compared to the stodgy science and economics of conservation.

The Poison Beer of GDP

By Herman Daly

Disaggregating reported GDP growth to reveal the differences in growth by income class, as per the Schumer-Heinrich Bill, is a good idea. After all, telling us, say, that average income grew by 4% is not nearly as informative as telling us that the richest ten percent received the entire growth increment while the bottom ten percent suffered a decline in income.

NGOs Challenged to Back Up Their Rhetoric

The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) has sent a letter to the presidents of the top ten environmental NGOs challenging them to a debate. The debate will center around one question: “Is there a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection?”