Entries by

Who Does Economic Growth Serve?

By Brian Snyder

For many people, one of the causes of our obsession with economic growth is our belief that it will make our lives better. We think that with a little more money and a little more financial security, we will be able to better provide for our families, pay for our children’s college, and eventually retire, perhaps not wealthy but safe in the knowledge that we will never be poor.

For others,

Wealth Transfers, Carbon Dioxide Removal, and the Steady State Economy

By Brian Snyder

In 2019, the U.S. per capita GDP was $65,000. It seems obvious that this level of economic activity is more than sufficient to meet the needs of the U.S. population; after all, if we can’t live fulfilled, productive lives in an economy producing $65,000 per person per year, more money and production will never be enough. Further, additional per capita economic growth in the USA is uneconomic. For example, economic growth to $75,000 per person per year will not increase our economic wellbeing nearly as much as it will decrease ecological wellbeing;

The Futility of Utility

By Brian Snyder

Science, including social science, cannot be normative. That is, it cannot tell us how we should act. It can predict the consequences of our actions, but should questions are ethical questions. Science is an epistemology—the branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of knowledge—for studying observable phenomena. As such, it can describe behavior, but it cannot prescribe behavior.

Prescribing behavior, whether personal behavior or public policy,

Don’t Call It “Communist”

By Brian Snyder

One of the few benefits of a global quarantine is catching up on movies, and one of the movies I’ve recently caught up on is 2017’s The Death of Stalin. If you have an aversion to vulgar language or death squads you should skip it, but otherwise, watching Steve Buscemi play Nikita Khrushchev is a comical experience you won’t soon forget.

But for our immediate purposes,

Social Justice in the Steady State

By Brian Snyder

It is a luxury to be able to worry about future generations, biodiversity loss, or climate change, and it is only available to me because of a great deal of privilege. I don’t have to worry about affording food for my family, or finding a safe place to live, and I’m confident that my kids will inherit much of the same bourgeois life that I did. My privilege frees me to think,

The Second Cold War?

By Brian Snyder

Over the past two months, there has been a great deal of talk about the environmental implications of the pandemic. Some have looked for glimmers of hope, others have predicted that we will shortly return to the status quo. I fear that the biggest outcome of the pandemic will not be its death toll nor its effects on the climate, but its impacts on geopolitics. Specifically, the deteriorating relationship between China and the USA may lead to a Second Cold War.

Building a Steady State Economy in a System Evolved for Growth

By Brian F. Snyder

If you’ve been on the internet recently you’ve been exposed to Tiger King, the wildly popular Netflix series that revolves around the conflict among a bizarre set of humans feuding over the proper way to hold big cats in captivity. Watching the show is a bit like watching a train derail in slow motion, but for our purposes what is important is that it illustrates the discrepancy between the way the world is and the way the world ought to be.