Posts


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 Center introduced the concept of planetary boundaries to help the public envision the nature of the challenges posed by limits to growth and physical/biological boundaries.


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 of CASSE. The following is Brian Czech’s foreword to “A Future Beyond Growth.”


What Kind of Future Does Your Degree Prepare You For?

by James Magnus-Johnston

As the fall chill sets into the air and farmers begin to harvest, universities invite another wave of impressionable young minds to think about the future—of society, and of their place in it. But preparation for the future requires us to consider exactly what kind of future we think we’re in for, and far too many schools are preparing students for a fictional business-as-usual future.

Do your universities and instructors acknowledge that the global temperature will likely rise by at least two degrees this century?


First Cut: No Five-Kid Presidents

By Brian Czech

(With apologies to the Octomom, who didn’t ask for this kind of attention.)

Mention the Octomom, and the first thing that comes to mind is that ridiculous fecundity. If she tried running for President, she’d never make it to the first debate, because everyone would take the 14-kid factoid (yes, she had 6 before the 8) to indicate some type of extremist propensity. More astute analysts would also point out that,


Would the Steady State Economy Be a Miracle?

by Herman Daly

Many people think that advocating a steady state economy is like wishing for a miracle. I understand their reasoning and take their point—in the present era of growthism, it does seem rather like advocating a miracle. But that raises the question of exactly what is a miracle? And how many other miracles are we wishing for these days? Of course, science, by definition of its method, rules out the existence of miracles,


The Future History of Political Economy – Part 2

Thermodynamics in Economics: Revolutionary portent, future history

by Eric Zencey

Ecological Economics represents the extension into economics of the thermodynamic revolution of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In physics, that revolution dethroned Newton and brought relativity. In biology, it was midwife to the birth of ecology, the study of ecosystems as wholes in which energy networks—food webs—are a defining structure. In chemistry the laws of thermodynamics brought clarity and rigor to a science that struggled to bring theoretical unity to diverse phenomena.


The Future History of Political Economy – Part 1

Economics Ignores Thermodynamics

by Eric Zencey

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this essay appeared as a comment in the Great Transition Network Forum, which will appear on the Great Transition Initiative website next week along with a new essay by Herman Daly, “Economics for a Full World.”

Ecological Economics and its corollary, Steady State Economic thinking, represent a step forward for the discipline of economics and also a return to how it was practiced in the past.


Seismic Political Shifts Reveal Desire for Serious Change

by James Magnus-Johnston

If you demonstrate to people that the NDP [New Democratic Party] can win in Alberta, suddenly anything seems possible. —Paul Fairie, University of Calgary political scientist

 

On the problematic political spectrum, neither the right nor the left have become wholesale champions of the steady state economy. Then again, embracing something perceived as ‘new’ has never been the strong suit of the politician.


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!


War and Peace and the Steady State Economy

Herman Daly discusses the natural alliances between peacemakers and steady staters, and between the growth economy and warfare.