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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.


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.


What About Innovating Beyond the Growth Trap? A Challenge to the Ecofiscal Commission’s Growth Fixation

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 […]


Five Myths About Economic Growth

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 […]


Progress Toward a True-Cost Economy Now Comes From Developments in Renewable Energy

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 […]


The Guardian and Monbiot versus Forbes and Worstall

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.


An Economics Fit for Purpose in a Finite World

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?


Three Limits to Growth

Our economy faces a futility limit, ecological catastrophe limit, and an economic limit. Fortunately, the economic limit will likely be the first we encounter; hopefully we can implement a steady state economy before the others are reached!