Putin the Practical Wants Ukraine Grain

by Brian Czech

Pundits, think tanks, and politicians are asking, “What does Putin want with Ukraine?” If you’re familiar with Ukraine’s flag—especially the bottom half—you’re halfway to the answer.

But let’s start with the conventional wisdom. Yes, Putin wants to pressure the West into preventing Ukraine from joining NATO, thereby keeping the alliance off Russia’s doorstep. Russia’s natural gas transmission to Europe would be a lot more profitable if they didn’t have to pipe the gas through tariff-charging Ukraine,


Resisting the Temptation of Growth at the County Level

by Daniel Giles

Across the USA, a battle for the souls of rural counties is being waged. The battle is fought not in major news outlets, but in local government meetings and the opinion columns of local newspapers. Despite the lack of national coverage, the cumulative outcome of these localized conflicts will change the American landscape for generations to come.

This monumental battle is between those fighting for growth—or “development” as some use interchangeably—and those who strive to conserve the current character of counties.


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.


Colorado River: “Lifeline of the Southwest” Suffering Effects of Economic Growth and Climate Change

by Haley Demircan

The Colorado River, also known as the “Lifeline of the Southwest,” spreads along 1,450 miles (2,330 kilometers), from northern Colorado to the Gulf of California in northwestern Mexico. This legendary river provides water for 40 million people in cities such as Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego, as well as millions of acres of vital farmland. Seven states rely on the Colorado River as a primary source of water.


Building Upon the Trophic Theory of Money: Preliminary Results from Canada

By James Magnus-Johnston

The human economy doesn’t just mimic the economy of nature; it is part of it. It is woven directly into the ecological system of producers and consumers. Due to the technological prowess of Homo sapiens, though, the human presence dominates, threatening other species and the life support system of the planet. Human dominance over non-human life leads us to acknowledge some uncomfortable truths, particularly for proponents of “green growth.”

The first pertains to the loss of biodiversity.


Normalizing Outbreaks in the Anthropocene: Growth Isn’t the Cure

By James Magnus-Johnston

Death rates. Infection rates. Handwashing. Handwringing.

May I re-frame the coronavirus conversation? Although the world is currently stunned by the rapid spread of this virus across the globe, we must understand that these kinds of outbreaks are simply going to happen more often in our climate-altered world, and they highlight the fragility of our growth-or-bust industrial system. But there is a silver lining: This moment requires industrial societies to emphasize wellbeing over GDP and to witness the vulnerability of global,


“Be Very Alarmed!” Introducing the Global GDP Meter

by Brian Czech

Backed by an ominous sound clip and a rapidly churning GDP meter that comes out of nowhere, “Be alarmed… Be very alarmed!” are the opening phrases at CASSE’s new landing page. You’ll see what we mean shortly; please allow us an introduction to describe this new approach.

The landing page is actually a 30-second animation prefacing our “regular” website. It is designed to be three things:

  • Alarming
  • Crystal clear
  • Distinctive and memorable
Why Sound the Alarm?

The One Percent: Not Kristallnacht but Lebensraum

The talking points of conspicuous consumers can be just as obnoxious as their purchasing habits.


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.