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.


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.


The New Herman Daly Bio: Confusion at a Critical Juncture and Other Missteps

by Brian Czech

No one in the sustainability business deserves a biography more than Herman Daly. But then, as a literary Clint Eastwood might say, “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” If a biography needs to be shot out of the saddle—or shot down a peg at least—so be it. Remember, it’s not the fault of the biographee.

Let me shoot straight to the bottom line, then. If you want to know about Herman Daly’s economics for a full world—and you should want to—read Daly’s books and articles.[1] If you want to know about Daly’s childhood days,


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.

Facebook and Its Religion of Growth

by Taylor Lange

There was a time when I dreamt of working at Facebook. I was less intrigued by the software development side than with studying the exchange of information and the cultural evolution occurring through online social networks. One of my research interests is how individuals learn to act cooperatively and acquire new preferences. What better place is there to do that than at the largest online social media platform?

Since joining Facebook in 2009,


Re-Framing 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,


Housing Policy: An Agent for Growth

by John Mirisch

In the ongoing and increasingly heated discussions about housing, urban planning, and zoning, I often return to Greta Thunberg’s seething indictment of our world’s decision-makers: “Here we are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can do is talk about money and fairytales of eternal economic growth.”

Greta may have been directing her remarks to politicians at the highest levels of government; but, neither should we forget as former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once famously remarked,


The Parliamentary Prospects of Steady-State Politics

by James Lamont

In August steady staters enjoyed a victory worthy of reflection. Following May elections, the Scottish Greens struck a power-sharing deal with the Scottish National Party (SNP), bringing the Greens into a national UK government for the first time.

Buried beneath the media chatter about what this partnership could mean for Scottish independence (both parties are in favor) is the fact that a party explicitly against infinite growth is now in power in the UK.


Next Big Thing or Next Big Mistake?

by Brian Snyder

In a 2021 landmark of ludicrousness, Jeff Bezos launched himself, cowboy hat and all, into space aboard a phallus-shaped rocket. But Bezos’ fruitless attempt to fill that gaping hole in his life was only the latest stupid reason to send something to space. Spaceship stupidity goes back to the SNAPSHOT program which, in 1965, sent a working nuclear reactor into space. Not surprisingly,


Labor Day Reflections: Growth Doesn’t Solve Inequality

Labor Day, like other holidays of remembrance, is an opportunity to reflect on the past and critically consider the future. Our memory ought to include the foot soldiers of the labor movement, from the 10,000 coal miners who fought in the Battle of Blair Mountain to the steel workers who duked it out with the Pinkertons at Homestead mill. We owe our rights as workers to the bitter struggles of many who preceded us.

Despite the gains of the labor movement, it seems we still have a long way to go. It is well-documented that while the productivity of the American worker has continued to rise, our compensation has risen slower. All that extra surplus has gone right into the bosses’ pockets; Mother Jones would be up in arms by now.