Posts


Houston, We Have a Credit Problem

by Neil Tracey

In 2021, China had around 30 million homes sitting vacant for extended periods. There’s enough unused housing in China to house around 80 million people, roughly the population of Germany. This isn’t “slack” in the market; there is little hope that these homes will someday find an occupant. These homes are bound to remain empty.

Indeed, most of these homes are simply held as financial assets;


True Conservation: A 21st Century Vision for the Next Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

by Brian Czech

The 21st century challenges to wildlife conservation are unprecedented. The ecological integrity of the nation and planet is unravelling before our eyes. Species and ecosystems are disappearing, if not immediately off the face of the planet, then via slow, dead-end emigrations as they respond to climate change.

It’s not as if climate change was needed to imperil fish and wildlife. Climate change is actually the fourth major crisis in the past 150 years.


A Place for a Steady State in the EU Green Deal

by Adel Ramdani

The European Green Deal, the EU’s flagship environmental program, aims to profoundly transform the EU’s 27 member states into low-carbon economies. The deal was rolled out in December 2019 by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. It’s supposed to be a roadmap toward a “fair and prosperous society” with an economy that is modern, resource-efficient, and competitive. So far, so good? Let’s take a deeper dive.


Biden’s Black Swan: New Oil Leasing is Bound to End in Disaster

by Taylor Lange

The USA is well acquainted with disastrous crude oil accidents. Eleven years ago an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform killed 11 workers, injured 17 more, and discharged roughly 4.6 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The incident cost BP more than $65 billion to clean up, destroyed thousands of acres of ocean reefs, and killed thousands of marine animals. Just over two decades prior,


Resisting the Temptation of Growth at the County Level

by Daniel Giles

Across the USA, a battle for the souls of rural counties is being waged. The battle is fought not in major news outlets, but in local government meetings and the opinion columns of local newspapers. Despite the lack of national coverage, the cumulative outcome of these localized conflicts will change the American landscape for generations to come.

This monumental battle is between those fighting for growth—or “development” as some use interchangeably—and those who strive to conserve the current character of counties.


Pope Francis and the Steady State Economy

by Brian Snyder

Let’s play a game of “who said it.” I’ll give you quotes from either For the Common Good (by Herman Daly and John Cobb), or Let Us Dream (by Pope Francis). You guess who wrote it:

  1. “…in the wealthier parts of the world, the fixation with constant economic growth has become destabilizing, producing vast inequalities and putting the natural world out of balance.”
  2. “Then ‘God’ became redundant and disappeared.

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,


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,


Next Big Thing or Next Big Mistake?

by Brian Snyder

In a 2021 landmark of ludicrousness, Jeff Bezos launched himself, cowboy hat and all, into space aboard a phallus-shaped rocket. But Bezos’ fruitless attempt to fill that gaping hole in his life was only the latest stupid reason to send something to space. Spaceship stupidity goes back to the SNAPSHOT program which, in 1965, sent a working nuclear reactor into space. Not surprisingly,


IPCC Report: Happily Ever After or Miserable Ever More?

by Brian Snyder

If you’ve been following the news, you’ve heard that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released the first section of its sixth report (hereafter, “the report”). The report focuses on the physical science of climate change, and projects the most likely ecological and economic impacts as well as possible mitigation pathways. If you’ve read it—and it is worth reading—you might find that the IPCC has managed once again to walk the line between terrifying and cautious.