Posts


Book Review: National Accounts and Environmentally Sustainable National Income by Roefie Hueting and Bart de Boer

By Gerry Greaves

When CASSE’s Executive Director, Brian Czech, asked me if I would like to review a book on national accounts, my first reaction was, “Why would I care?” I was familiar with the national accounting system, but my concentration in environmental advocacy typically focused on climate change and its effects on economic inequality. My interest was piqued, though, when he explained that this book was different, because the authors had developed a system to incorporate environmental sustainability in the national accounts.


The Silver Lining of the COVID-Caused Recession is Supra-Economic

By Brian Czech

COVID-19 has done in a deadly way what steady-state economists would prescribe in a healthy way: putting the brakes on a runaway economy. In fact, the pandemic has slammed on the brakes and jammed the GDP gearstick into reverse. It has ushered us into a recession that will be pronounced and protracted. In a COVID-caused recession, it’s nature at bat, not the Fed.

In these dark times, any source of comfort is welcome.


Normalizing Outbreaks in the Anthropocene: Growth Isn’t the Cure

By James Magnus-Johnston

Death rates. Infection rates. Handwashing. Handwringing.

May I re-frame the coronavirus conversation? Although the world is currently stunned by the rapid spread of this virus across the globe, we must understand that these kinds of outbreaks are simply going to happen more often in our climate-altered world, and they highlight the fragility of our growth-or-bust industrial system. But there is a silver lining: This moment requires industrial societies to emphasize wellbeing over GDP and to witness the vulnerability of global,


Beating Teflon Trump Entails a New Perspective on GDP

By Brian Czech

In the earlier months of Donald Trump’s presidency, Democrats were stunned by his popularity despite his racist rhetoric, acerbic arrogance, and international insults. Trump himself had meanly boasted that he could “shoot somebody on 5th Avenue” and not lose any votes. He knew the American political system—Dems included—worshiped at the altar of GDP growth. Trump, as the quintessential growthist, had skyrocketed to the throne of Untouchable High Priest, albeit in a sharply divided church of red and blue growthists.


Meaning and Ethics in Ecological Economics

By Haydn Washington

The True Meaning of Ecological Economics

Ecological economics has a problem: Pluralism is out of control, to the extent that “ecological economics” is starting to mean different methods, approaches, and values to different people. We need to know precisely what we mean by “ecological economics,” and to settle upon an ethical framework thereof.

The original thinkers in ecological economics, such as Herman Daly, were clear that ecological economics was an economics that operated within ecological limits.


Existential Dread: We Need to Talk About our Feelings

By James Magnus-Johnston

Just as the smoke disperses from fire-ravaged parts of the world, the specter of ecological breakdown is creeping into humanity’s collective psyche. Whether that manifests as a bit of anxiety or full-on dread of mass extinction, we need to start talking about our feelings. If we don’t, we may avoid rather than confront the reforms needed for the planet to continue supporting life.

As a university instructor in Canada,


KYIV COMMUNIQUÉ

On the Environmental Impact and Economic Sustainability of Nord Stream 2 and Other Sub-Marine Natural Gas Pipelines

Kyiv, November 6, 2019

 

Summary

Representatives of the Ukraine National Academy of Sciences, National Technical University of Ukraine, Ukrainian National Forestry University, Naftogaz Board for Science and Technologies, Institute of Market Problems and Ecological Economics Research, Ukrainian Institute for the Future, and scholars from France,


[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 a bit misleading. World population will probably rise to over 10 billion before the slow decline would begin.


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.


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.