Posts


Book Review: Falter by Bill McKibben

By Herman Daly Thanks to Bill McKibben, not just for his new book but for 30 years of honest, eloquent, and insightful environmental writing and activism. He begins Falter by pointing out that “the human game we’ve been playing has no rules and no end, but it does come with two logical imperatives. The first is […]


[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 […]


The World Fertility Transition: Moving Toward a Steady-State Population

“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 […]


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.


Time to Stop Worshipping Economic Growth

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 […]


Five Myths About Economic Growth

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 […]


Thoughts on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si

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 […]


Preempting a Misleading Argument: Why Environmental Problems Will Stop Tracking with GDP

Brian explains how GDP growth will eventually stop tracking with environmental damage–but the reasons may not be what you’d expect!


A Population Perspective on the Steady State Economy

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.


Hedonism, Survivalism, and the Burden of Knowledge

What do we do with the knowledge that we may be headed for climate catastrophe?