Posts


Housing Policy: An Agent for Growth

by John Mirisch

In the ongoing and increasingly heated discussions about housing, urban planning, and zoning, I often return to Greta Thunberg’s seething indictment of our world’s decision-makers: “Here we are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can do is talk about money and fairytales of eternal economic growth.”

Greta may have been directing her remarks to politicians at the highest levels of government; but, neither should we forget as former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once famously remarked,


#BanFlightsUSA, Before It’s Too Late!

by Brian Czech

In a rational world, we’d avoid doing things that rot our teeth, cause traffic accidents, or…ruin the planet for the kids, grandkids, and millions of other species. Unfortunately, our rationality has been spotty at best. We’ve been rational enough to protect plenty of teeth and prevent numerous accidents, but we’ve done nothing to stop the global heating that is wrecking our spectacular Earth.

That’s why we need to ban flights now.


IPCC Report: Happily Ever After or Miserable Ever More?

by Brian Snyder

If you’ve been following the news, you’ve heard that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released the first section of its sixth report (hereafter, “the report”). The report focuses on the physical science of climate change, and projects the most likely ecological and economic impacts as well as possible mitigation pathways. If you’ve read it—and it is worth reading—you might find that the IPCC has managed once again to walk the line between terrifying and cautious.


Old White Men: Protecting the Rim for Steady-State Diversity

by Brian Czech

I’m an old guy. Not ancient, perhaps, but my 61-year old knees alone would put me in the lower decile of…let’s say freshness. Why, my best days are so far back, you’d need a rearview mirror from the Giant Magellan Telescope to spot one!

As if that weren’t bad enough, I’m a white guy. I might feel black and blue sometimes from fighting the forces of GDP growth,


Wellbeing, Happiness, and GDP Growth: Rhetoric vs. Reality

By James MacGregor Palmer

Several movements are working in opposition to the destructive growth economy of the 21st century. The labels adopted by these movements are largely tied to the regions in which they originated and/or became popular. For example, the term “steady state” is most prevalent in the USA, while “degrowth” is often associated with continental Europe. The widespread term throughout the UK, however, is “wellbeing economy.”

Without prior knowledge of the UK term,


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,


Bad Bros and Their Bitcoin

by Brian Snyder

Bitcoin needs to end, now. And other blockchain-based currencies along with it. If, like many people, you only have a vague idea of what Bitcoin is, you need to know two critical facts. First, Bitcoin is a currency that is “mined” via computing calculations, and second, in aggregate those calculations use about as much energy as the nation of Argentina. To make matters worse, that energy use is growing.

A recent analysis in Nature Communications estimated that by 2024 bitcoin mining in China alone would require nearly 300 terawatt-hours (TWh),


Contrasting Climate Policies in the House and Senate

By Brian Snyder

On March 10, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin introduced America’s Clean Future Fund Act, a fairly ambitious plan to combat climate change. While skeptics will be able to identify plenty of weaknesses in the bill and might argue that it remains enmeshed in a growth-economy worldview, the potential for progress warrants our appreciation. Meanwhile in the House, the Energy and Commerce Committee introduced the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act,


Paying Taxes with Trophic Money: Watch Out for Environmental Backfires

By Brian Czech

I didn’t set out to coin a phrase, but “trophic money” will be far handier than “money derived pursuant to the trophic theory of money.” The trophic theory of money is that money originates via the agricultural surplus that frees the hands for the division of labor into all the other economic activities, most basically manufacturing and services. It’s a theory of money that reflects not only the trophic structure of the economy—with manufacturing and services built upon a base of agriculture and extraction—but the fact that money is meaningless unless we have an agricultural surplus at the trophic base.


Ecofeminism and the Steady State Economy

By Casey Reiland

On September 23rd, 2019, a sixteen-year-old girl fearlessly sent a message to world leaders at the UN Headquarters: “We’ll be watching you.” Though Greta Thunberg had become a household name at this point for her school-strike movement, this speech would mark her as the voice of a generation, garnering four million views and a designation as “Time’s 2019 Person of the Year.” Though her whole speech is moving,