If It’s Profitable, Is It Really Sustainable?

By Gunnar Rundgren

That an economic activity has to be profitable is considered a truism, something taken for granted and not reflected upon. But what if the opposite is the case?

When I first took up small-scale organic farming in the 1970s, I spent a lot of energy on developing new methods and machinery to increase my productive efficiency. The early organic advocates went a long way to assure growers, farmers,


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.


Bad Bros and Their Bitcoin

By Brian Snyder

Bitcoin needs to end, now. And other blockchain-based currencies along with it. If, like many people, you only have a vague idea of what Bitcoin is, you need to know two critical facts. First, Bitcoin is a currency that is “mined” via computing calculations, and second, in aggregate those calculations use about as much energy as the nation of Argentina. To make matters worse, that energy use is growing.

A recent analysis in Nature Communications estimated that by 2024 bitcoin mining in China alone would require nearly 300 terawatt-hours (TWh),


A Doughnut Economy Please—But Hold the Agnostic Frosting

By Brian Czech

Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth, which I gobbled up last week, was tentatively in my top 5 economics pastries before I bit down on Chapter 7. Now it’s “merely” in the baker’s dozen—top 10 even—along with classics such as Small is Beautiful, the Diseconomics of Growth, and more than one Herman Daly title on the pantry shelf.[i] I know you’re hungry for the answer to what grated my teeth at Chapter 7,


“Limits to Growth”: A Game for Elementary School and Summer Camp

By Kayla Downs

I spend my summers working at a summer camp in Upstate New York. For a reason unbeknownst to me this past summer, my campers became obsessed with the song “Let It Grow” from The Lorax. They asked me to play it constantly, knew all the words, and loved to sing along. I didn’t realize how relevant it would become to my own life and work.


Contrasting Climate Policies in the House and Senate

By Brian Snyder

On March 10, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin introduced America’s Clean Future Fund Act, a fairly ambitious plan to combat climate change. While skeptics will be able to identify plenty of weaknesses in the bill and might argue that it remains enmeshed in a growth-economy worldview, the potential for progress warrants our appreciation. Meanwhile in the House, the Energy and Commerce Committee introduced the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act,


Spaceship Earth and the Alien Economy: More than a Metaphor

By James MacGregor Palmer

The year was 1965, and on the morning of July 9 in Geneva, Adlai Ewing Stevenson II prepared for his final speech to the United Nations. A former Governor of Illinois and presidential candidate, what he was about to say might still become his greatest contribution. But we’re in danger of forgetting it.

What Adlai Stevenson proffered the world that day was a metaphor. A simple yet powerful idea that,


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.


Minimalism — The Personal Steady State Economy

By Kayla Downs

Following my recent article at the Herald, a reader pointed out that many folks become far happier simply by reducing their material belongings. He also noted how, by focusing more on the long term, he has been able to achieve many goals in his own life. Neither of these points came as a surprise, yet they’re worth following up on. There is growing interest from people in the United States and the western world at large in living a slower,


Is the Steady State Progressive?

By Brian Snyder

Karl Marx thought of history as progressive, moving from aristocracy to bourgeois capitalism to socialist revolution to communist utopia. While neoclassical economists such as Alan Greenspan and Paul Romer might not agree with Marx on much, they do agree that history tends toward progress. Today, nearly everyone on the political left and much of the political right is “historically progressive,” even if politically conservative. They all seem to believe that our children will inherit a more prosperous,