Posts


The Trophic Theory of Money, with Apologies to Peter Victor

by Brian Czech

In my critical review of Peter Victor’s biography, Herman Daly’s Economics for a Full World, I focused on two major and several lesser weaknesses of the book. The two major weaknesses, in my opinion, are the confusion over GDP as an indicator of environmental impact, and the absence of CASSE in a book that, in many ways, CASSE helped make possible or at least more marketable.


The New Herman Daly Bio: Confusion at a Critical Juncture and Other Missteps

by Brian Czech

No one in the sustainability business deserves a biography more than Herman Daly. But then, as a literary Clint Eastwood might say, “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” If a biography needs to be shot out of the saddle—or shot down a peg at least—so be it. Remember, it’s not the fault of the biographee.

Let me shoot straight to the bottom line, then. If you want to know about Herman Daly’s economics for a full world—and you should want to—read Daly’s books and articles.[1] If you want to know about Daly’s childhood days,


Facebook and Its Religion of Growth

by Taylor Lange

There was a time when I dreamt of working at Facebook. I was less intrigued by the software development side than with studying the exchange of information and the cultural evolution occurring through online social networks. One of my research interests is how individuals learn to act cooperatively and acquire new preferences. What better place is there to do that than at the largest online social media platform?

Since joining Facebook in 2009,


Reframing the Debate: It’s the (Steady State) Economy, Stupid

by Brian Czech

May I offer you a pet peeve to chew on? I’m willing to share one for our mutual displeasure.

Here it is: Being told by academics and activists—nary a political expert among them—that “it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as we’re all after the same thing.” With the possible exception of Donald Trump’s lips, nothing could be further from the truth. If common sense doesn’t suffice to illuminate the importance of name recognition,


Housing Policy: An Agent for Growth

by John Mirisch

In the ongoing and increasingly heated discussions about housing, urban planning, and zoning, I often return to Greta Thunberg’s seething indictment of our world’s decision-makers: “Here we are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can do is talk about money and fairytales of eternal economic growth.”

Greta may have been directing her remarks to politicians at the highest levels of government; but, neither should we forget as former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once famously remarked,


CO2 Emissions: Accounting for Accountability

by Taylor Lange

In my very first graduate statistics course, the professor often cautioned us about data collection: “Garbage in, Garbage out.” What she said, in no uncertain terms, was that mistakes in the measurement or methodology would invalidate our statistical analyses. I’ve consistently reminded myself of this mantra. My colleagues, students, and I double check the sources and methodology behind any data we’re testing. If we aren’t entirely confident in the integrity of the data,


Old White Men: Protecting the Rim for Steady-State Diversity

by Brian Czech

I’m an old guy. Not ancient, perhaps, but my 61-year old knees alone would put me in the lower decile of…let’s say freshness. Why, my best days are so far back, you’d need a rearview mirror from the Giant Magellan Telescope to spot one!

As if that weren’t bad enough, I’m a white guy. I might feel black and blue sometimes from fighting the forces of GDP growth,


Wellbeing, Happiness, and GDP Growth: Rhetoric vs. Reality

by James MacGregor Palmer

Several movements are working in opposition to the destructive growth economy of the 21st century. The labels adopted by these movements are largely tied to the regions in which they originated and/or became popular. For example, the term “steady state” is most prevalent in the USA, while “degrowth” is often associated with continental Europe. The widespread term throughout the UK, however, is “wellbeing economy.”

Without prior knowledge of the UK term,


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.


To Be or Not to Be: Is the European Degrowth Movement Courting an Identity Crisis?

by Brian Czech

 

To be or not to be

for lowering GDP.

Deciding is the fee

for degrowthers to be free!

(Free of confusion, that is, and degrees of self-defeat.)

 

In the heart of the Cold War, John F. Kennedy proclaimed, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” More than halfway to a century later,