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The GPI Act: Genuine Indication of Progress?

by James Lamont

On July 30th the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) Act was introduced in Congress by U.S. House Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN). The GPI would indicate the net benefit of economic activity, as an alternative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It would be used in the economic and budgetary reporting of federal agencies and government offices.

For me, the timing was remarkable, as July 30th was the very day I signed on with CASSE.


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,


Challenging the Pro-Growth Market: Mark Carney’s Reith Lectures and the Need for a Radical Approach

By James MacGregor Palmer

“Society won’t settle for worthy statements followed by futile gestures. It won’t settle for countries announcing plans in Paris five years ago for 2.8 degrees warming, far too high, that they don’t even meet. Society won’t settle for companies that preach green but don’t manage their carbon footprints, or financial institutions who can’t tell us whether our money is on the right or wrong side of climate history.”

These are not the words of an environmental activist,


COVID-19 in the UK: A Choice Between Life and Lucre?

By James MacGregor Palmer

1.8 million pounds.

That’s how much the UK government thinks our lives are worth.

Placing an economic value on a human being is nothing new. It’s standard practice in a growth-obsessed society that ascribes economic value to whatever it can. 

The Economy Over All

Last week the UK’s COVID-19 death toll broke the 50,000 mark. With our own wild-haired leader of the post-truth era at the helm,


Pandemic and the Policy Roots of a Steady State Economy

By James Magnus-Johnston

Over a decade ago, a chorus of voices called for sensible policy priorities for a post-growth transition; it took a pandemic for a few of these priorities—like a universal basic income—to become a reality nearly overnight. Not that recent policy reforms have been conducted with a steady state economy in mind. Rather, politicians have been attempting to “stimulate” a moribund economy.

Let’s imagine for a moment, however, that instead of “keeping the wheels on” and propping up a struggling growth economy in the midst of a pandemic,


Building Upon the Trophic Theory of Money: Preliminary Results from Canada

By James Magnus-Johnston

The human economy doesn’t just mimic the economy of nature; it is part of it. It is woven directly into the ecological system of producers and consumers. Due to the technological prowess of Homo sapiens, though, the human presence dominates, threatening other species and the life support system of the planet. Human dominance over non-human life leads us to acknowledge some uncomfortable truths, particularly for proponents of “green growth.”

The first pertains to the loss of biodiversity.


New Zealand Deprioritizes Growth to Improve Health and Wellbeing

By James Magnus-Johnston

Last May, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern released a budget to improve the “wellbeing” of citizens rather than focusing on productivity and GDP growth. And, not so coincidentally, New Zealand has one of the best coronavirus outcomes of any democracy in the world. Perhaps this provides a global model to make economic health cohere with health for all life.

To improve wellbeing, Ardern emphasized goals that focus on care for people and the planet.


Social Solidarity Requires a Universal Basic Income

By James Magnus-Johnston

Going forward in these uncertain times, a universal basic income could be the best way to maintain social solidarity—whether referring to health, wellbeing, or public order. “Solidarity,” writes Eric Klinenberg, “motivates us to promote public health, not just our own personal security. It keeps us from hoarding medicine” and prompts us “to knock on our older neighbor’s door.” It is a structure and a mindset that breaks down the barriers of inequality and improves trust,


Happiness and the COVID-caused Recession

By Beth Allgood

Modified from the original published in Our Daily Planet (ourdailyplanet.com) on March 21, 2020.

In 2013, the United Nations designated March 20th as the International Day of Happiness to recognize the importance of happiness and wellbeing in the lives of people around the world. Last year I attended the launch of the annual UN World Happiness Report in New York. This year the UN is closed to the public,


Book Review: National Accounts and Environmentally Sustainable National Income by Roefie Hueting and Bart de Boer

By Gerry Greaves

When CASSE’s Executive Director, Brian Czech, asked me if I would like to review a book on national accounts, my first reaction was, “Why would I care?” I was familiar with the national accounting system, but my concentration in environmental advocacy typically focused on climate change and its effects on economic inequality. My interest was piqued, though, when he explained that this book was different, because the authors had developed a system to incorporate environmental sustainability in the national accounts.