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If It’s Profitable, Is It Really Sustainable?

By Gunnar Rundgren

That an economic activity has to be profitable is considered a truism, something taken for granted and not reflected upon. But what if the opposite is the case?

When I first took up small-scale organic farming in the 1970s, I spent a lot of energy on developing new methods and machinery to increase my productive efficiency. The early organic advocates went a long way to assure growers, farmers,


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.


Not Production, Not Consumption, but Transformation

You can always count on Herman Daly to ask the critical questions: “How did this nonsense come into economics?”


Sir Thomas Enough: Utopia and the Steady State

With his vision of Utopia, perhaps Sir Thomas More should have changed his last name to Enough.