by James Magnus-Johnston Capitalism and growth might have similar connotations, but they have important distinctions, too. “Capitalism” has become a clumsy catch-all for any number of value-laden projections—greed, big business, innovation, accumulation, complexity, workaholism. “Growth,” meanwhile, is a landmine of technical and cultural connotations, and I’ll explore just a couple of them here. Technically speaking, […]
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 […]
On the Environmental Impact and Economic Sustainability of Nord Stream 2 and Other Sub-Marine Natural Gas Pipelines Kyiv, November 6, 2019 Summary Representatives of the Ukraine National Academy of Sciences, National Technical University of Ukraine, Ukrainian National Forestry University, Naftogaz Board for Science and Technologies, Institute of Market Problems and Ecological Economics Research, Ukrainian […]
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 . 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.
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.
By James Magnus-Johnston A new voice has emerged recently in Canada called the “Ecofiscal Commission,” which could have the funding, clout, and determination to steer the country in a more promising direction. The group includes high-profile economists, former political leaders, and high-powered financiers. They define “ecofiscal policy” as something that “corrects market price signals to […]
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 […]
by Brent Blackwelder A renewable energy revolution is sweeping the planet. This revolution has profound implications because it signals that the global economy is moving to stop the growth of our human carbon footprint. The global economy has run for a century primarily on fossil fuels but is now undergoing a rapid transition to a global […]
Daly explains how the conflation of growth and development, and a reliance on the Cobb-Douglass production function, can lead to the spurious conclusion that natural resources are unimportant factors of production.
Our current economic policy goal is not fit for a finite and entropic world. But what would our economic policy goal be in a steady state economy?