“There’s just too many of us and no one is talking about it.” —Biologist Patrick Benson in Meera Subramanian’s, A River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis By Max Kummerow It is hard to imagine a growing population supporting a steady state economy. “Jobs” and higher incomes for growing numbers of people anchor […]
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 . 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.
By Brent Blackwelder There are physical limits to growth on a finite planet. In 1972, the Club of Rome issued their groundbreaking report—Limits to Growth (twelve million copies in thirty-seven languages). The authors predicted that by about 2030, our planet would feel a serious squeeze on natural resources, and they were right on target. In 2009, the Stockholm Resilience […]
by Brian Czech Myth #1. It’s economic. To be economic, something has to be worth more than it costs. Economic activity, per se, is more beneficial than detrimental. Technically speaking, “marginal utility is greater than marginal disutility.” If you liked a rug, but liked your grandkids more, it wouldn’t be smart to grab the rug […]
by Herman Daly As a Protestant Christian my devotion to the Catholic Church has been rather minimal, based largely on respect for early church history, and for love of an aunt who was a nun. In recent times the Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control, plus the pedophile and cover-up scandals, further alienated me. Like […]
Brian explains how GDP growth will eventually stop tracking with environmental damage–but the reasons may not be what you’d expect!
The population problem should be considered from the point of view of all populations–populations of both humans and their things–if we are going to achieve a steady state economy.
Is there an evolutionary mechanism stopping us from living within our planetary constraints? If so, can we overcome it before it is too late?
Daly challenges the assertion that a steady-state economy is inherently capitalistic and must be instead be based on a socialist system.