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Facebook and Its Religion of Growth

by Taylor Lange

There was a time when I dreamt of working at Facebook. I was less intrigued by the software development side than with studying the exchange of information and the cultural evolution occurring through online social networks. One of my research interests is how individuals learn to act cooperatively and acquire new preferences. What better place is there to do that than at the largest online social media platform?

Since joining Facebook in 2009,

Housing Policy: An Agent for Growth

by John Mirisch

In the ongoing and increasingly heated discussions about housing, urban planning, and zoning, I often return to Greta Thunberg’s seething indictment of our world’s decision-makers: “Here we are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can do is talk about money and fairytales of eternal economic growth.”

Greta may have been directing her remarks to politicians at the highest levels of government; but, neither should we forget as former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once famously remarked,

The Parliamentary Prospects of Steady-State Politics

by James Lamont

In August steady staters enjoyed a victory worthy of reflection. Following May elections, the Scottish Greens struck a power-sharing deal with the Scottish National Party (SNP), bringing the Greens into a national UK government for the first time.

Buried beneath the media chatter about what this partnership could mean for Scottish independence (both parties are in favor) is the fact that a party explicitly against infinite growth is now in power in the UK.

Next Big Thing or Next Big Mistake?

by Brian Snyder

In a 2021 landmark of ludicrousness, Jeff Bezos launched himself, cowboy hat and all, into space aboard a phallus-shaped rocket. But Bezos’ fruitless attempt to fill that gaping hole in his life was only the latest stupid reason to send something to space. Spaceship stupidity goes back to the SNAPSHOT program which, in 1965, sent a working nuclear reactor into space. Not surprisingly,

Labor Day Reflections: Growth Doesn’t Solve Inequality

Labor Day, like other holidays of remembrance, is an opportunity to reflect on the past and critically consider the future. Our memory ought to include the foot soldiers of the labor movement, from the 10,000 coal miners who fought in the Battle of Blair Mountain to the steel workers who duked it out with the Pinkertons at Homestead mill. We owe our rights as workers to the bitter struggles of many who preceded us.

Despite the gains of the labor movement, it seems we still have a long way to go. It is well-documented that while the productivity of the American worker has continued to rise, our compensation has risen slower. All that extra surplus has gone right into the bosses’ pockets; Mother Jones would be up in arms by now.

Introducing the Forgoing Flights for America the Beautiful Act

The first commandment of serious policy reform is: “Thou shalt not propose sweeping legislation without the drafting thereof.” So, if we’re going to get serious about banning flights, we better produce the legislative goods. In doing so, we strive to obey the second commandment as well: “Thou shalt not propose infeasible legislation.”

To be feasible, the Forgoing Flights for America the Beautiful Act (FFAB) must be presented as a logical sequence of reforms. The full ban, then, is like climbing a ladder. Each step significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and makes the next step more accessible and compelling. Climbing all the way to the top puts us on a rooftop of accomplishment, from which we can see clear and spacious skies, helping to make America beautiful again.

#BanFlightsUSA, Before It’s Too Late!

by Brian Czech

In a rational world, we’d avoid doing things that rot our teeth, cause traffic accidents, or…ruin the planet for the kids, grandkids, and millions of other species. Unfortunately, our rationality has been spotty at best. We’ve been rational enough to protect plenty of teeth and prevent numerous accidents, but we’ve done nothing to stop the global heating that is wrecking our spectacular Earth.

That’s why we need to ban flights now.

IPCC Report: Happily Ever After or Miserable Ever More?

by Brian Snyder

If you’ve been following the news, you’ve heard that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released the first section of its sixth report (hereafter, “the report”). The report focuses on the physical science of climate change, and projects the most likely ecological and economic impacts as well as possible mitigation pathways. If you’ve read it—and it is worth reading—you might find that the IPCC has managed once again to walk the line between terrifying and cautious.

The GPI Act: Genuine Indication of Progress?

by James Lamont

On July 30th the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) Act was introduced in Congress by U.S. House Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN). The GPI would indicate the net benefit of economic activity, as an alternative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It would be used in the economic and budgetary reporting of federal agencies and government offices.

For me, the timing was remarkable, as July 30th was the very day I signed on with CASSE.

CO2 Emissions: Accounting for Accountability

by Taylor Lange

In my very first graduate statistics course, the professor often cautioned us about data collection: “Garbage in, Garbage out.” What she said, in no uncertain terms, was that mistakes in the measurement or methodology would invalidate our statistical analyses. I’ve consistently reminded myself of this mantra. My colleagues, students, and I double check the sources and methodology behind any data we’re testing. If we aren’t entirely confident in the integrity of the data,