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 […]


Keep Our Counties Great – Safe, Scenic, and Sustaining

By Brian Czech

When you look out your window, do you like what you see? Would you like to keep it that way? Are you afraid the forces of growth will deface, degrade, or “develop” your favorite places? Then Keep Our Counties Great is the campaign for you! This county-level initiative has long been pondered at CASSE, and it’s time to act. This does not mean we’re forgetting about the nation as the focal point of fiscal and monetary policy. Nor are we dropping our obligations and interests in international diplomacy. Rather, Keep Our Counties Great will have synergistic effects, especially with our long-term legislative project.


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.


The Green New Deal: What’s Really Green and What’s Really New

By Brian Czech

Ask Americans what the Green New Deal is all about, and you’ll get two basic answers. Most often you’ll hear, “It’s about moving to renewable energy in order to fight climate change.” You’ll also hear, from a camp further right, “It’s all about socialism!” Either way, the really green, really new feature is overlooked. What the Green New Deal is really about is the transition to a steady state economy. At least, that’s what it must be about, to be truly green and new. Let’s start with green. “Green” connotes environmental protection. Some may view it naively as a tree hugger’s agenda, but ultimately, it’s about economic sustainability. That’s because economic activity starts from deep in the environment; namely with the agricultural and extractive sectors.


Neocornucopianism and the Steady State: Part I

By Josh Farley

Perhaps the main reason people reject the need for a steady state economy is some form of cornucopianism, the belief that technological progress will overcome all ecological and physical limits, allowing endless economic growth into the indefinite future. Cornucopianism has several flavors, and I will describe three: mainstream economics, eco-modernism, and singularity theory.


No Mere Resolution: The Vermont Legislature and the Steady State Economy

By Brian Czech Here’s a day to remember: May 6, 2016. That’s the day when, late in the afternoon, the Legislature of the State of Vermont passed H.C.R. 412, “House Concurrent Resolution Honoring the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy for Its Important Work.” In a nation where acts of steady statesmanship […]


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 […]


Setting Things Straight for the Steady State

By Brian Czech Editor’s Note: The forthcoming A Future Beyond Growth (Routledge, 2016), edited by Haydn Washington and Paul Twomey, explores the vision and process for moving toward a steady state economy. This edited volume stemmed from the Australian Academy of Science’s 2014 Fenner Conference on the Environment. Haydn is the co-director of the New South Wales chapter […]