Housing and Local Communities

Housing and Communities in a Steady State Economy

Localization is one of the key ingredients in the transition from the growth economy to a steady state economy. As we change our economic focus from the global back to the local, we build an economy (and a community right along with it) that is more connected, more resilient, and more neighborly. A vibrant local economy develops and supports local businesses and keeps wealth circulating within the community.

Freedom and Government

Freedom and Government in a Steady State Economy

In a steady state economy, citizens exercise as much freedom as possible without impinging on the freedom of others. Stable numbers of people consuming sustainable levels of resources means that each person has more freedom to pursue desired activities. Economic institutions are designed to respect ecological limits, but personal choice is maximized within that institutional framework. Numerous governmental formats could be used to strike this balance between institutional limits and personal choice.


Cities in a Steady State Economy

Cities continue to serve as centers of culture and commerce in steady state economies. But these re-designed cities have smaller populations working and living in more compact land areas. Buildings and transportation networks are much more efficient, requiring fewer energy resources, and nature and gardens are re-integrated into city landscapes. At the same time, local cooperative enterprises, businesses, and regional trade activities generate good prospects for employment.

Households and Families

Family Life in a Steady State Economy

It’s nearly impossible to take a snapshot of a so-called typical family, but in a steady state economy, the important things are emphasized in each household. Healthy lifestyles and relationships take center stage. With the work week shortened to something like 30 hours per week, family members can spend more quality time with one another and explore personal development, such as picking up a musical instrument,


Population in a Steady State Economy

In a steady state economy, population remains relatively stable, as births + immigrants = deaths + emigrants. Overcrowding, congestion, and frenzied competition are diminished. A stable and sustainable level of population helps ensure that each person can obtain sufficient resources. Steady state economies include non-coercive policies that tend to stabilize population, such as empowerment of women and provision of equitable access to educational opportunities. The idea is to stabilize population at a size that gives citizens the best odds to lead long,


Consumption in a Steady State Economy

In a steady state economy, people consume enough to meet their needs and lead meaningful, joyful lives without undermining the life-support systems of the planet. They choose to consume energy and materials responsibly, conserving, economizing, and recycling where appropriate. Conspicuous consumption becomes a thing of the past. Citizens (yes citizens, not consumers) recognize the culture of materialism as a bankrupt ideology and a poor path to happiness.

Envisioning the Good Life

The Good Life in a Steady State Economy

The evidence is all around us — the global human economy has grown too large.  Continued economic growth (especially in high-consuming nations) is at best irresponsible, and at worst risks ecological collapse and resource deprivation for future generations. The logical way forward for nations of the world is to take a different path to achieve sustainable, healthy, and equitable lifestyles for citizens. The alternative to continued economic growth is a non-growing or steady state economy.

Definition of Steady State Economy


A steady state economy is an economy of stable or mildly fluctuating size. The term typically refers to a national economy, but it can also be applied to a local, regional, or global economy. An economy can reach a steady state after a period of growth or degrowth. To be sustainable, a steady state economy may not exceed ecological limits.

A steady state economy entails stabilized population and per capita consumption.

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