[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 […]


Keep Our Counties Great – Safe, Scenic, and Sustaining

By Brian Czech

When you look out your window, do you like what you see? Would you like to keep it that way? Are you afraid the forces of growth will deface, degrade, or “develop” your favorite places? Then Keep Our Counties Great is the campaign for you! This county-level initiative has long been pondered at CASSE, and it’s time to act. This does not mean we’re forgetting about the nation as the focal point of fiscal and monetary policy. Nor are we dropping our obligations and interests in international diplomacy. Rather, Keep Our Counties Great will have synergistic effects, especially with our long-term legislative project.


“Be Very Alarmed!” Introducing the Global GDP Meter

By Brian Czech

Backed by an ominous sound clip and a rapidly churning GDP meter that comes out of nowhere, “Be alarmed… Be very alarmed!” are the opening phrases at CASSE’s new landing page. You’ll see what we mean shortly; please allow us an introduction to describe the approach. The landing page is actually a 30-second animation prefacing our “regular” website. It is designed to be three things: alarming, crystal clear, distinctive and memorable.


The World Fertility Transition: Moving Toward a Steady-State Population

“There’s just too many of us and no one is talking about it.” —Biologist Patrick Benson in Meera Subramanian’s, A River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis   By Max Kummerow It is hard to imagine a growing population supporting a steady state economy. “Jobs” and higher incomes for growing numbers of people anchor […]


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.


The Green New Deal: What’s Really Green and What’s Really New

By Brian Czech

Ask Americans what the Green New Deal is all about, and you’ll get two basic answers. Most often you’ll hear, “It’s about moving to renewable energy in order to fight climate change.” You’ll also hear, from a camp further right, “It’s all about socialism!” Either way, the really green, really new feature is overlooked. What the Green New Deal is really about is the transition to a steady state economy. At least, that’s what it must be about, to be truly green and new. Let’s start with green. “Green” connotes environmental protection. Some may view it naively as a tree hugger’s agenda, but ultimately, it’s about economic sustainability. That’s because economic activity starts from deep in the environment; namely with the agricultural and extractive sectors.


A Country of Immigrants

By Herman Daly

Historically, the U.S. is undeniably a country of immigrants. But why is this uncontested fact so repeatedly emphasized? Might the unremitting celebration of immigration as a policy (as opposed to the celebration of particular immigrants as people) obscure a dark side of our immigration history?


Neocornucopianism and the Steady State: Part I

By Josh Farley

Perhaps the main reason people reject the need for a steady state economy is some form of cornucopianism, the belief that technological progress will overcome all ecological and physical limits, allowing endless economic growth into the indefinite future. Cornucopianism has several flavors, and I will describe three: mainstream economics, eco-modernism, and singularity theory.


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.”


A Not-So-Nobel Prize for Growth Economists

By Brian Czech

How ironic for the Washington Post to opine “Earth may have no tomorrow” and, two pages later, offer up the mini-bios of William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, described as Nobel Prize winners.

Without more rigorous news coverage, few indeed will know that Nordhaus and Romer are epitomes of neoclassical economics, that 20th century occupation isolated from the realities of natural science. Nordhaus and Romer may deserve their prizes for economic modeling, but each gets an F in advanced sustainability.