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,

Bad Bros and Their Bitcoin

By Brian Snyder

Bitcoin needs to end, now. And other blockchain-based currencies along with it. If, like many people, you only have a vague idea of what Bitcoin is, you need to know two critical facts. First, Bitcoin is a currency that is “mined” via computing calculations, and second, in aggregate those calculations use about as much energy as the nation of Argentina. To make matters worse, that energy use is growing.

A recent analysis in Nature Communications estimated that by 2024 bitcoin mining in China alone would require nearly 300 terawatt-hours (TWh),

The Triangular Economy: Behind the Circular Flows

By Brian Czech

The “circular economy” is a response to the environmental problems and resource shortages that arise as the human economy expands. The focus of the circular economy literature is on efficiency which, in terms of economic production, means more output per unit of input. All else equal, increasing efficiency means higher profits, too. That’s real motivation for the corporation.

Efficiency connects to the human propensity to innovate, too. From childhood on,

Distinguishing Capitalism from Growth

by James Magnus-Johnston

Capitalism and growth might have similar connotations, but they have important distinctions, too. “Capitalism” has become a clumsy catch-all for any number of value-laden projections—greed, big business, innovation, accumulation, complexity, workaholism. “Growth,” meanwhile, is a landmine of technical and cultural connotations, and I’ll explore just a couple of them here.

Technically speaking, their differences seem straightforward. Growth is a material increase in economic production and consumption. Capitalism is a highly complex term,

Where Does Inflation Hide?

By Herman Daly

The talking heads in the media explain the recent fall in the stock market as follows: A fall in unemployment leads to a tight labor market and the prospect of wage increases; wage increase leads to threat of inflation; which leads the Fed to likely raise interest rates; which would lead to less borrowing, and to less investment in stocks, and consequently to an expected fall in stock prices.

What is Wrong with a Zero Interest Rate?

by Herman Daly

The stock market took a dip, so the Fed will likely continue to keep the interest rate at zero, in conformity with its goal of supporting asset prices by quantitative easing. What is wrong with a zero interest rate? Doesn’t it boost investment, growth, and employment?

There are many things wrong with a zero interest rate. Remember that the interest rate is a price paid to savers by borrowing investors.

Peace, Love, and the Gift

If we are to degrow the economy towards a steady state, we’re going to need to be a whole lot more generous, a whole lot happier, and more grateful for what we have already.

Use and Abuse of the “Natural Capital” Concept

Herman Daly explains how we can use prices now as tools for rationing a fixed predetermined flow of resources, rather than determining the volume of resources taken from nature, or the physical scale of the economic subsystem.

Do U.S. Election Financing Laws Force Politicians to Ignore Limits to Growth?

Brent Blackwelder explains the connection between campaign financing laws and a steady state economy.

Piketty Acknowledges a Limit to Inequality–Will He Acknowledge the Limits to Growth?

We are going to need more than a wealth tax to fix our economy.