Welcome to The Steady Stater Podcast!

 

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We’re glad you dropped by! The Steady Stater is CASSE’s podcast, established August 3, 2020, and hosted by CASSE’s own Brian Czech. It is the only podcast in the world dedicated to advancing the steady state economy. The podcast airs every Monday at 8:00 am EST. Czech and guests offer unique and compelling dialogue on the steady state economy, limits to growth, the degrowth movement, and related affairs in science, society, politics and policy. 

We hope you enjoy the show!

 

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For any podcast-related questions or concerns, or if you are interested in being a guest on the show, please reach out to CASSE Communications Specialist Richard Tibbetts here.

22 replies
    • Erwin Dreessen
      Erwin Dreessen says:

      Thanks for this podcast with Leon K. I’m not sure I agree with all the perspectives offered, however. Speaking from a relatively “empty” Canada, an argument can be made that growing to 100 million (i.e. more or less tripling our current population) would be a good thing. The vast majority of Canadians also embrace immigrants wholeheartedly and, as our PM never stops saying, believe that diversity is our strength. Of course the rich countries must help poor countries to provide a decent life for their citizens so they don’t feel compelled to emigrate, but immigration there always will be and some rich countries are well positioned to receive them (taking care not to cream off the top to the disadvantage of the origin country).

      With a sparse population spread over a vast territory, it is a daily experience that certain endeavours here in Canada just don’t have the population basis to succeed and thrive.

      Big picture, of course the world’s population must stabilize or we’re doomed. But as your guest indicated, a lot has happened in the last 50 years re women’s fertility rate. I believe the UN foresees a levelling off at some point. Drastic measures such as China has taken with the one child policy (which the podcast did not discuss), besides being coercive, are a risky way of going about it (they’re now saddled with a lopsided population pyramid). Girls’ and women’s education and empowerment, building up of social safety nets and general increase in the standard of living are a surer and more humane way to achieve stabilization.

      Reply
      • Beedy Parker
        Beedy Parker says:

        Please, please , think of population solutions in terms of encouraging access to birth control and abortion, and not only that education is the required route. Women and girls who do not have Western educations are capable of making wise decisions if they are allowed. And don’t allow our knowing that “birth control has been used as genocide against oppressed populations mean that we can’t push for access to reproductive health. We need it badly, in the US and worldwide, big consumers and low consumers.
        Stop the push back. Help!

        Reply
  1. Tobias Adriansson
    Tobias Adriansson says:

    Thank you for providing this enlightening podcast.

    Brian mentioned that a steady-state economy will mitigate the issues with an economy that is fluctuating in size. I would like to hear your opinion on how the transition from a non-steady-state economy to a steady-state economy will affect us. In the western world, the sizes of the economies are too big which during the transition is going to require degrowth.

    Reply
  2. David Wierda
    David Wierda says:

    Just listened to most of the podcasts. I enjoyed listening to them and I’ll look for new ones. One of the issue in recent news is how the stock market has stayed strong while there are so many problems caused by the pandemic. What do you recommend to be looking at instead of GDP? I haven’t heard any discussion of that in any of the podcasts I’ve listened to far. if you have an article or more to recommend I’d like to know that as well.

    I did go to https://steadystate.org/joe-biden-donald-duck-and-a-steady-state-soul-of-america/. In the podcast and in the article you say POSTERITY. Are you aware that in the graphic in the article the Y-axis says “Concern for PROSPERITY”?

    Reply
    • Rick Tibbetts
      Rick Tibbetts says:

      Hi Don,

      Thank you for your interest in the podcast! You can subscribe to the podcast and receive weekly notifications for new episodes by following the show on either Spotify or Apple Music. You can also sign up for weekly email notifications by subscribing to the Steady State Herald blog (Go to ‘Track’ > ‘Steady State Herald (Blog)’ > add your email to the sign-up bar on the right). In addition to the blog, subscribers receive a weekly podcast email. We are working on adding a subscription bar (exclusively for podcast notifications) to this page and will notify you when we do so.

      Reply
  3. Wills Flowers
    Wills Flowers says:

    I just found your podcast and I’m enjoying it immensely. I’ve been a big fan of Herman Daly since graduate school when he was writing articles in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

    You should consider interviewing economist Michael Hudson on your show. He has the best analysis I’ve seen yet of the rentier sector and how it is warping the economy. If there is any hope for putting a steady state economy in place, it will require somehow defanging the rentier class, which is getting it’s bloated profits from “economic growth”. I wish there were more “cross-pollination” among economists who all understand the need for changing the economic system but who are off in different cubbyholes concentration on little specialty issues. If there were more communication and debate we might actually be able to formulate that “systemic change” that everyone calls for.

    Reply
  4. Kevin K
    Kevin K says:

    Thank you for the 1/8/21 Insurrection at the capital podcast. Another connection between the 1/6 Trump-inspired right wing extremist actions at the capital and endless growth is their shortsightedness. Both endless growth and vandalism are a short sighted waste of resources.

    I think it might be generous to say that Trump comprehends GDP. His focus was the stock market, and his belief was that if the market was up he would be re-elected. His corporate tax cuts (at a time when the economy did not need a stimulus) gave corporations the money to buy back stocks and drove up stock prices. Environmental deregulation drove up stock prices. Trump’s downplaying-ignoring the Covid pandemic was done to prevent a normal downturn in the stock market near election time. But artificially inflating stock prices is shortsighted and eventually leads to catastrophic downturns that harm almost everyone.

    Trump’s shortsightedness and selfishness were extreme. But isn’t it similarly shortsighted and selfish to think that humans can have unlimited population (=economic) growth? Yet most humans believe we don’t have to consider how many of us the earth can support. We’ve gotten a dangerous president out of office, we shouldn’t forget to confront and reduce our own selfish, shortsighted Trumpisms.

    Reply
  5. Pat Kittle
    Pat Kittle says:

    Brian,

    I greatly appreciate your efforts; I have long been almost entirely in agreement with you.

    But I’m not willing to think Left-wingers are any more noble than Right-wingers.

    Surely you know most of the Left reflexively denounces over-population activism as fascist.

    Left-wing ecological awareness nowadays takes a back seat to all kinds of concerns — even to violent Black career criminals (saintly martyrs of current Leftist theology) resisting arrest.

    The only ecological problem the Left seems serious about is carbon emissions. We’re told we have to do literally EVERYTHING we can to reduce them — meanwhile the Left insists on inviting everyone on Earth (i.e., “open borders”) to its most notorious carbon emitter.

    This blatant hypocrisy should be, calmly, confidently & FACTUALLY, exposed.

    Regards,

    — Pat Kittle
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Reply
  6. Emma Koch
    Emma Koch says:

    growthism links to violence
    because exploitation of resource and low status labour
    is a sacrifice of appropriate mental boundaries
    and abandonment of the pursuit of ethical principles.
    they’ve already crossed the boundaries that keep us mentally healthy

    Reply
  7. Jim Mason
    Jim Mason says:

    I have a hypothesis that I have not heard elsewhere. The living planet functions on only the carbohydrate energy of photosynthesis (at most 5% of incoming solar converted). Everything that we ‘import’ from outside that carbohydrate budget contributes to our out-competing the rest of life, until there is no life left and we suffer the fate of all species that overgraze; the end. Our fundamental problem is not accepting the limit imposed by the carbohydrate budget and since we are the apex organism entropy dictates the least amount of energy is available to us, which means our overshoot is massive.

    Reply
  8. David Le Page
    David Le Page says:

    What an extraordinarily parochial discussion, conducted as if the US is the entire world, and the only place where it’s worth establishing a steady state economy.

    The only solution you discussed for stabilising US population was restricting immigration. But it doesn’t matter which side of the US border people are – they will still have an impact on global ecology. So restricting immigration doesn’t help mitigate climate change and other global ecological stressors at all; it only helps in reducing local and regional ecological pressures.

    You completely omitted to discuss properly the most effective ways to stabilise population which are educating women (see https://www.wired.co.uk/article/educating-girls-climate-change) and giving them proper access to reproductive healthcare (which can also help minimise abortion if one is opposed to that).

    You did not discuss the various ways in which US foreign policy contributes to immigration pressures on the US: https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/central-america-migrant-crisis-foreign-policy-trump/.

    You did not discuss the human rights atrocities that have been associated with ‘population control’, which is an incredibly important part of why discussions around population have fallen into disrepute: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17612550.

    You did describe the relationship between population and consumption, and how ecological impact is a function not just of population, but of consumption, but did not properly expand on this issue, nor on how technology is also part of that equation.

    I challenge you to repeat this discussion, but with some black women from developing countries included in the conversation.

    Reply
    • Brian Czech
      Brian Czech says:

      You’re welcome. We are happy to provide a platform for listeners to provide their thoughts and suggestions for podcast topics.

      Of course, it’s nice when commenters are a little more understanding and reasonable. Not every podcast can cover every issue surrounding a topic. Always we must prioritize. Our calculus for what to prioritize, when and with whom, is neither simple nor recklessly derived. Here, I’ll only point out that we hadn’t yet had a single episode focused on population, so we cautiously worked our way into a subset of the material with a knowledgeable guest who likely provided many listeners with facts and points they weren’t yet familiar with. Our listeners were reminded that CASSE, unlike the big environmental organizations, is straightforward about the need to stabilize population.

      Furthermore, a careful listener would have also noticed that the issues you wanted discussed were alluded to in the podcast and/or came out in the discussion at the complementary article ( https://steadystate.org/population-growth-the-ironic-vexer/ ). I can add that these issues were already slated for upcoming podcasts, too.

      So, please be aware that there are considerations you may not be aware of — not to mention the limitations of a 25-minute podcast produced amidst an intense schedule of a small non-profit — before introducing your comment with a scathing and presumptuous rebuke.

      Reply
      • David Le Page
        David Le Page says:

        I apologise for being unnecessarily scathing. And yes, 25 minutes is not a great deal of time in which to address a complex issue.

        However, I cannot see how the complementary article addresses most of my substantive comments. Again, it focuses overwhelmingly on immigration controls as a way of stabilising population, which as I mentioned above is problematic for several reasons.

        You don’t address the paradox of advocating that the US imposes a domestic policy of population stablisation on countries which in some instances it has *destabilised* either politically or through the out-of-control ‘war on drugs’, or both.

        Telling other countries what to do is yet another form of colonialism. ‘Soft power’ is in the end usually more effective.

        I think it’s time CASSE moved on, past self-congratulation for grasping the population issue nettle and making jabs at big NGOs, to making prescriptions that are more based in historical and political reality.

        You point the finger at the Sierra Club, amongst others, but in articles like this one…

        https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2019-6-november-december/editor/time-fix-population-fixation

        … they show they neither ignore the issue as you assert, but in fact have a more holistic grasp of the issue than does CASSE.

        (I have no affiliation of any kind with the Sierra Club.)

        Reply
        • Brian Czech
          Brian Czech says:

          Thanks for being less scathing, but let’s be clear on the position and message of CASSE. We have said all along (nearly two decades now) that the 800-pound gorilla of economic growth has two arms: population and per capita consumption. We have said all along that the greatest challenge to sustainability in recent decades has been the decadent burgeoning of per capita consumption in the USA and other wealthy countries. We have said all along that the USA — as it extracts rents from all over the world — is no judge of poverty-stricken countries with regard to population or consumption. We have said all along, though, that population stabilization remains a fundamental aspect of sustainability.

          The fact that Sierra magazine has an article about population is a far cry from the Sierra Club taking a position with clear policy prescriptions. I wonder if the article would have even appeared, if not for the challenges from organizations such as CASSE that have called them out for failing to take a stance on population OR economic growth. Furthermore, “Time to Fix the Population Fixation” is hardly a helpful attitude.

          Our recent article and podcast did have somewhat of an emphasis on immigration, partly because immigration is fundamental to any holistic population equation which must account for births, deaths, immigration, and emigration. Immigration happens to be very relevant in countries where it accounts for the lion’s share of population growth. And, we had a deficit in messaging on this topic.

          So, we’re out there on the record: We say tightening borders is indeed steady-state policy, BUT ONLY WHEN accompanied by the transition away from GDP growth to a steady state economy, AND while assisting poverty-stricken countries with development aid. We are NOT calling for shutting down the borders at this time, while the USA is still hellbent on GDP growth. I believe our position will come to be seen as the most rational, ethical, and sustainable approach.

          Reply
  9. Jim Mason
    Jim Mason says:

    Thanks for your advocacy of steady state. Any anthropocentric view of the planet will lead to mistaken answers. we need to figure out how the planet works, and view ourselves objectively as any other organism. I think the major schism in the stasis of the natural order was when a particular species (us) tapped into an energy source external to the native energy budget. Energy is the basis of everything. One species now consumes energy equal to 20% of the native energy budget. It does not matter what social, legal, economic or philosophical systems we adopt, the more energy we consume with a source external to what life has existed on for 2.5 billion years, the more the living systems of the planet will suffer.

    Reply
  10. Mark Cramer
    Mark Cramer says:

    On “The Unified Theory of Biodiversity Conservation”: as one whose efforts are mainly to live the steady state more than to theorize, Brian’s Unified Theory is a great help in finding clarity in my own living as well as for sharing my paths with others. I was prompted to take notes as I had done in grad school, suddenly feeling 40 years younger as I did.
    I would guess, for example, that the production and use of an electric car (I choose an icon of some environmental policies) would dip into various “causes of species imperilment”: mining, road construction, urbanization, etc. that would deplete natural capital stocks. Still guessing, I would ask if not an electric car would extract more than it saves. As a bicycle-as-transportation advocate, this might be a knee-jerk reaction on my part. But it seems to be that an electric car and all the R&D it requires is part of the Faustian bargain referred to near the end of Brian’s podcast. What do I know? I hope this is a legitimate question.

    Reply
  11. Rich Gregory
    Rich Gregory says:

    please offer a transcript of each podcast. I can read much faster than I can listen. You have the advantage of including graphs and tables.

    thx,

    rich

    Reply
  12. Chris LaPlante
    Chris LaPlante says:

    I loved the podcast with Dave Gardner.

    There are two cultural pillars that justify perpetual economic growth that were not mentioned…

    1. “Jobism”

    Jobism is the notion that we must keep creating jobs, that all income distribution must be associated with jobs, and that the majority of the meaning in our life is derived through our job (it is interesting that Dave mentioned at 4:00 that he found his work with degrowth to be much more fulfilling than his career). I think that jobsim will serve as an absolute obstacle to the steady state/degrowth movement. “What about jobs” will be the rallying cry of everyone that wants to maintain the broken status quo. But they do have a point, the needed increase in efficiency and decrease in consumption will reduce the number of resources that we need/use- including human resources. This means net job loss in the long term. Human labor is becoming increasingly obsolete and ever more destructive. Jobs require resources to create, administer, and maintain. We will need to move beyond constantly touting job creation and focus instead on sharing the jobs that genuinely contribute to human health and well-being and creating a mechanism that provides income to people that is not connected to employment. Those who support perpetual economic growth will always be able to “create” more jobs, competing with them in that regard is a losing proposition. We are not going to job create our way to a more socially and ecologically sustainable future.

    Continued on next post…

    Reply
    • Chris LaPlante
      Chris LaPlante says:

      2. The fallacy of infinite/insatiable wants and the false dichotomy of wants vs. needs.

      The idea of infinite and insatiable wants provides a foundational argument for perpetual economic growth. The notion that there is something called “wants” also gives rise to the false dichotomy of wants vs needs. I think that the idea of wants is a completely artificial construct. The concept of wants is dubious because it seeks to create a new framework to explain phenomena that can easily be attributed to our ill-fated and/or foolhardy attempts to meet our needs. The idea that there is a driving force in human behavior that differs greatly from instinct (in that it has no connection to needs/survival) and is indeterminate, limitless, and quenchless, should be supported by an overwhelming amount of evidence. It isn’t.

      If we make the distinction between needs and satisfiers (like Max Neef) we begin to shine a very different light on what motivates people’s actions. If we see needs as the driver of human behavior and recognize that we can address our needs in a myriad of ways, we can fail to address them in a myriad of ways, and we can be led astray in our efforts to meet our needs- the concept of wants becomes unnecessary or even spurious.

      Reply

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