Come Hell, High Water, or Both

by Haley Mullins

Sea-level rise is one of the “highlights” (if we can call it that) of our climate emergency, yet most of us know so little about it. For many, the polar bears on Coca-Cola’s cans are the closest they’ve come to the issue. But marketing campaigns and halfhearted sympathies do little for the most vulnerable species and people. We should be doing far more. We certainly can’t afford complacency in the face of sea-level rise.


Pope Francis and the Steady State Economy

by Brian Snyder

Let’s play a game of “who said it.” I’ll give you quotes from either For the Common Good (by Herman Daly and John Cobb), or Let Us Dream (by Pope Francis). You guess who wrote it:

  1. “…in the wealthier parts of the world, the fixation with constant economic growth has become destabilizing, producing vast inequalities and putting the natural world out of balance.”
  2. “Then ‘God’ became redundant and disappeared.

Wealth Transfers, Carbon Dioxide Removal, and the Steady State Economy

by Brian Snyder

In 2019, the U.S. per capita GDP was $65,000. It seems obvious that this level of economic activity is more than sufficient to meet the needs of the U.S. population; after all, if we can’t live fulfilled, productive lives in an economy producing $65,000 per person per year, more money and production will never be enough. Further, additional per capita economic growth in the USA is uneconomic. For example, economic growth to $75,000 per person per year will not increase our economic wellbeing nearly as much as it will decrease ecological wellbeing;


Population and the Outbreak of Peace

By Max Kummerow

Adelyne More’s 1917 feminist pamphlet Fecundity and Civilization stated flatly that population stabilization “is the most effective way of ensuring the cessation of war.”[1] All species’ potential rates of reproduction enable exponential population growth. Population numbers are kept within environmental capacity by rising mortality as populations increase. Ecologists call this process “density-dependent mortality.” Many “group-selected” social species fight territorial wars as populations grow, such as chimpanzees,


The Connection Between Population, Income, and Health

by Max Kummerow

For hundreds of years, economists have debated whether population growth is good or bad. Malthus said exponential population growth increases labor supply, so wages fall until starvation, war, or plague stops growth in numbers. Marx said capitalism causes poverty and hunger, so population growth is good, because “every stomach is born with a pair of hands”, bringing revolution and justice closer.

Nearly 200 years later, Garrett Hardin and Julian Simon were still debating the same question.


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.


Population and the Steady State Economy

By Max Kummerow

Sir David Attenborough remarked in a 2011 presidential lecture to the Royal Society that “every environmental and social problem is made more difficult and ultimately impossible to solve with ever more people.” Wherever women’s status has improved and societies modernized, he said, birth rates have fallen. He begged his audience to “talk about population.”


The Pope Francis Encyclical And Its Economics

by Brent Blackwelder

The Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis is attracting extraordinary attention for its message on global warming, deforestation, loss of biological diversity, and other pressing environmental issues. What is less well known is the extensive critique of the global economy found in his 184-page Encyclical. This blog highlights some of the significant points that Pope Francis makes about the need for systemic economic change.

Although the Pope does not use the phrase “steady state economy”


Thoughts on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si

by Herman Daly

As a Protestant Christian, my devotion to the Catholic Church has been rather minimal, based largely on respect for early church history and for the love of an aunt who was a nun. In recent times, the Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control, plus the pedophile and cover-up scandals, further alienated me. Like many others, I first viewed Pope Francis as perhaps a breath of fresh air, but little more. After reading his encyclical on environment and justice,


Biocultural Heritage: The Foundation of a Sustainable Economy

Want healthy ecosystems and healthy economies? You’d better think about conserving biocultural heritage.