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;


Wildlife on the Way Out While the World Wildlife Fund Lays a Policy Egg

By Brian Czech

It’s been awhile since wildlife—not just a species here or there but wildlife at large—has been front and center in the news. Usually the biggest environmental news pertains to climate change at the global level, or local pollution problems such as lead in the water pipes. “Biodiversity” gained traction as an issue in the 1990s, but seems to have slipped off the public’s radar. (When’s the last time you saw it in a prominent newspaper headline?)

“Wildlife,” on the other hand,


Uncommon Sense—The Foreword

By Brian Czech

Editor’s Note: This foreword is an excerpt from the Steady State Press’ forthcoming book, Uncommon Sense: Shortcomings of the Human Mind for Handling Big-Picture, Long-Term Challenges by Peter Seidel. Preorder a copy now.

I first encountered Peter Seidel at a Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Wisconsin. Or perhaps it was a conference of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics in New York.


“Consumer Confidence” or Subtle Salesmanship?

By Brian Czech

Have you ever wondered about the odd pairing of “confidence” with “consumer?” Isn’t confidence supposed to reflect something more virtuous than your shopping cart? When you’re confident, you’ll be comfortable in your own skin, right? It’s all about who you are, not what your stuff is.

Confidence is supposed to play out in places like football fields, gymnastic events, stages, and maybe weddings, not shopping malls and dealerships.


The Silver Lining of the COVID-Caused Recession is Fading Fast

By Madeline Baker

From February to mid-April 2020, in an early and shocking stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, greenhouse gas emissions plummeted worldwide. Nowhere was the reduction more notable than in China, the country with the highest emissions. According to Lauri Myllyvirta, the lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, China’s carbon dioxide emissions fell by 25 percent from the end of January through mid-February. Also, for the month of February,


The Futility of Utility

By Brian Snyder

Science, including social science, cannot be normative. That is, it cannot tell us how we should act. It can predict the consequences of our actions, but should questions are ethical questions. Science is an epistemology—the branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of knowledge—for studying observable phenomena. As such, it can describe behavior, but it cannot prescribe behavior.

Prescribing behavior, whether personal behavior or public policy,


Joe Biden, Donald “Duck,” and a Steady-State Soul of America

By Brian Czech

Joe Biden wants to restore the “soul of America.” It’s a noble goal befitting an elderly statesman combining Uncle Joe charm with Uncle Sam chops. And, it’s badly needed after four years of soulless, sickening corruption of the White House. It’s also a huge opportunity, not only for restoring but for reforming that soul.

Reform is needed because the soul of America was hardly spotless to begin with, on either side of the political aisle.


Book Review: Crazy Climate and Rigged Economies by Gerry Greaves

By Skyler Perkins

Crazy Climate and Rigged Economies begins with a story of a boy who aspires to engineer a bridge. That young boy was author Gerry Greaves, and though he never designed a bridge during his career as a structural engineer, his new book offers a conceptual bridge to a sustainable society. Greaves guides readers through the challenges of our unsustainable and rigged economy and promotes solutions to stabilize our democracy,


The Kid and the Modern American Growth Scam

By Mark Cramer

Modified from the original published in Welcome to Fakeville! (medium.com/@WTFakeville) on May 14, 2020.

In Charles Chaplin’s classic film, The Kid, the Kid runs around town throwing rocks into windows, setting the stage for his dad, the Tramp, to show up (by chance) with window-repair equipment. The family business is based on destruction.

Between the lines, this film introduces the God of the modern era: economic growth,


Don’t Call It “Communist”

By Brian Snyder

One of the few benefits of a global quarantine is catching up on movies, and one of the movies I’ve recently caught up on is 2017’s The Death of Stalin. If you have an aversion to vulgar language or death squads you should skip it, but otherwise, watching Steve Buscemi play Nikita Khrushchev is a comical experience you won’t soon forget.

But for our immediate purposes,