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.


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.


The Future History of Political Economy – Part 2

Thermodynamics in Economics: Revolutionary portent, future history by Eric Zencey Ecological Economics represents the extension into economics of the thermodynamic revolution of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In physics, that revolution dethroned Newton and brought relativity. In biology, it was midwife to the birth of ecology, the study of ecosystems as wholes in which energy networks—food […]


Seismic Political Shifts Reveal Desire for Serious Change

by James Magnus-Johnston If you demonstrate to people that the NDP [New Democratic Party] can win in Alberta, suddenly anything seems possible. —Paul Fairie, University of Calgary political scientist   On the problematic political spectrum, neither the right nor the left have become wholesale champions of the steady state economy. Then again, embracing something perceived as […]


Progress Toward a True-Cost Economy Now Comes From Developments in Renewable Energy

by Brent Blackwelder A renewable energy revolution is sweeping the planet. This revolution has profound implications because it signals that the global economy is moving to stop the growth of our human carbon footprint. The global economy has run for a century primarily on fossil fuels but is now undergoing a rapid transition to a global […]