Wellbeing, Happiness, and GDP Growth: Rhetoric vs. Reality

By James MacGregor Palmer

Several movements are working in opposition to the destructive growth economy of the 21st century. The labels adopted by these movements are largely tied to the regions in which they originated and/or became popular. For example, the term “steady state” is most prevalent in the USA, while “degrowth” is often associated with continental Europe. The widespread term throughout the UK, however, is “wellbeing economy.”

Without prior knowledge of the UK term,


Degrowth: A North American Vision

By Brian Czech

Students and scholars of steady-state economics must have noticed, by now, that the Degrowth movement in Europe has attained far more traction than the steady-state movement has in the USA (or anywhere). Degrowth is the banner under which thousands have assembled at numerous conferences for almost two decades now, demonstrating a durable unity. Major European news outlets such as The Guardian report on Degrowth doings; even prominent American outlets including Bloomberg have taken note.


Population Growth: The Ironic Vexer

By Brian Czech

In a world of vexing issues—and our topic this week is certainly that—population growth might just be the most ironic. That’s because it should be among the simplest of issues; almost trifling in its mathematics. Yet opinions about it are beset with political, economic, and even some technical controversy.

For steady staters it seems perfectly clear: Population must be stabilized for the sake of societal well-being and even mere sustainability.


Orange Cone Headaches: Construction in an Overpopulated, Pro-Growth World

By Karen I. Shragg

Spotting a “Road Work Ahead” sign is enough to make any driver groan or nervously clutch her steering wheel. These warnings are meant to ensure people’s safety, yet they often also come with a myriad of traffic problems: congestion, noise, car wrecks, etc. In cities especially, orange cones are littered everywhere, causing copious delays and all for the sake of further “improvement” projects.

While infrastructure repair is an ongoing necessity,


The Meat of the Matter: Diet, Climate, and the Steady State Economy

By Haley Demircan

The saying “you are what you eat” is clearly true to a great extent, but there’s more to the story. The food we consume not only affects our being directly, but also the environment and the economy—and therefore us indirectly as well. Eating more vegetables and less meat and dairy is better for the health of most individuals here and now, and certainly for the health of the planet, now and for the long run.


A Post-COVID Vision: The Full and Sustainable Employment Act

By Brian Czech

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that the Great God of GDP is a false god after all, impotent as Baal. The mighty American economy, with unprecedented GDP, has been knocked to its knees by one of the lowest conceivable life forms, a mere virus possessing not a single strand of DNA. Politicians who thought their legacies would be associated with “the greatest economy ever” now look like ridiculous priests of a sham religion.


Planet of the Humans Puts Sacred Cows Out to Pasture

By Brian Czech

Planet of the Humans is a once-in-a-decade documentary for all concerned with the environment, the economy, and life on Earth. Directed by Jeff Gibbs and produced by Michael Moore, Planet is especially important for advancing the steady state economy. It is reminiscent of Pope Francis’ Laudato si’ in that it makes the case for a steady state economy—resoundingly—while never quite uttering the phrase “steady state economy.”

When viewing a documentary,


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.


Meaning and Ethics in Ecological Economics

By Haydn Washington

The True Meaning of Ecological Economics

Ecological economics has a problem: Pluralism is out of control, to the extent that “ecological economics” is starting to mean different methods, approaches, and values to different people. We need to know precisely what we mean by “ecological economics,” and to settle upon an ethical framework thereof.

The original thinkers in ecological economics, such as Herman Daly, were clear that ecological economics was an economics that operated within ecological limits.


[Book Review] Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline

by Max Kummerow

In Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline (Crown Publishing Group, New York, 2019) Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson argue that population decline will bring many social and economic changes—some good, some bad. They assert that “In three decades, give or take…global population starts to decline.”

Note that their title is a bit misleading. World population will probably rise to over 10 billion before the slow decline would begin.