The Trophic Theory of Money, with Apologies to Peter Victor

by Brian Czech

In my critical review of Peter Victor’s biography, Herman Daly’s Economics for a Full World, I focused on two major and several lesser weaknesses of the book. The two major weaknesses, in my opinion, are the confusion over GDP as an indicator of environmental impact, and the absence of CASSE in a book that, in many ways, CASSE helped make possible or at least more marketable.

Houston, We Have a Credit Problem

by Neil Tracey

In 2021, China had around 30 million homes sitting vacant for extended periods. There’s enough unused housing in China to house around 80 million people, roughly the population of Germany. This isn’t “slack” in the market; there is little hope that these homes will someday find an occupant. These homes are bound to remain empty.

Indeed, most of these homes are simply held as financial assets;

A Place for a Steady State in the EU Green Deal

by Adel Ramdani

The European Green Deal, the EU’s flagship environmental program, aims to profoundly transform the EU’s 27 member states into low-carbon economies. The deal was rolled out in December 2019 by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. It’s supposed to be a roadmap toward a “fair and prosperous society” with an economy that is modern, resource-efficient, and competitive. So far, so good? Let’s take a deeper dive.

A Steady State Economy is for the Birds

by Kate McFarland

Wind turbines kill birds.

This is not a fiction devised by the fossil fuel industry. It is an observable fact.

Ask, for instance, the dozens of birders who ventured to Scotland’s Outer Hebrides for a glimpse of a white-throated needletail, the first sighting of the species in Britain in 22 years. Like other swifts, the white-throated needletail is an adroit flier, catching insects on the wing and even mating during flight.

Reframing the Debate: It’s the (Steady State) Economy, Stupid

by Brian Czech

May I offer you a pet peeve to chew on? I’m willing to share one for our mutual displeasure.

Here it is: Being told by academics and activists—nary a political expert among them—that “it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as we’re all after the same thing.” With the possible exception of Donald Trump’s lips, nothing could be further from the truth. If common sense doesn’t suffice to illuminate the importance of name recognition,

Spaceship Earth and the Alien Economy: More than a Metaphor

by James MacGregor Palmer

The year was 1965, and on the morning of July 9 in Geneva, Adlai Ewing Stevenson II prepared for his final speech to the UN. A former Governor of Illinois and presidential candidate, what he was about to say might still become his greatest contribution. But we’re in danger of forgetting it.

What Adlai Stevenson proffered the world that day was a metaphor. A simple yet powerful idea that,

Paying Taxes with Trophic Money: Watch Out for Environmental Backfires

by Brian Czech

I didn’t set out to coin a phrase, but “trophic money” will be far handier than “money derived pursuant to the trophic theory of money.” The trophic theory of money is that money originates via the agricultural surplus that frees the hands for the division of labor into all the other economic activities, most basically manufacturing and services. It’s a theory of money that reflects not only the trophic structure of the economy—with manufacturing and services built upon a base of agriculture and extraction—but the fact that money is meaningless unless we have an agricultural surplus at the trophic base.

Is the Steady State Progressive?

by Brian Snyder

Karl Marx thought of history as progressive, moving from aristocracy to bourgeois capitalism to socialist revolution to communist utopia. While neoclassical economists such as Alan Greenspan and Paul Romer might not agree with Marx on much, they do agree that history tends toward progress. Today, nearly everyone on the political left and much of the political right is “historically progressive,” even if politically conservative. They all seem to believe that our children will inherit a more prosperous,