Posts


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.


Normalizing Outbreaks in the Anthropocene: Growth Isn’t the Cure

By James Magnus-Johnston

Death rates. Infection rates. Handwashing. Handwringing.

May I re-frame the coronavirus conversation? Although the world is currently stunned by the rapid spread of this virus across the globe, we must understand that these kinds of outbreaks are simply going to happen more often in our climate-altered world, and they highlight the fragility of our growth-or-bust industrial system. But there is a silver lining: This moment requires industrial societies to emphasize wellbeing over GDP and to witness the vulnerability of global,


[Book Review] Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline

by Max Kummerow

In Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline (Crown Publishing Group, New York, 2019) Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson argue that population decline will bring many social and economic changes—some good, some bad. They assert that “In three decades, give or take…global population starts to decline.”

Note that their title is a bit misleading. World population will probably rise to over 10 billion before the slow decline would begin.


Appropriate Scarcity

By Robert A. Herendeen

  … appealing to people to restrain themselves [by] self-enforced abstinence alone is a waste of time. By and large, we consume as much as our incomes allow…. changes… cannot take place without constraints that apply to everyone rather than everyone else. Manmade global warming cannot be restrained unless we persuade the government to force us to change the way we live.

—George Monbiot, Heat (2006/2009)

The results indicate that the likelihood of paying a positive amount for supporting renewable energy is higher under a mandatory scheme compared to a voluntary payment option in the UK.