Here are two lists for the post-growth, steady state economy. The first list is for those of you who haven’t done much reading or are new to the topics. I would suggest reading them for an introduction into steady state concepts and then move on to the more in-depth list. The second list is what I consider (so far) to be the top books/articles – the “must haves” on your post growth reading list and is an expanded companion to the introduction list.
If you only read 5, 10, or 16 books/articles about sustainable economics and post-growth thought these are my suggestions:
Introduction to Post Growth, Steady State Economics
There you have it. There are many other books/articles/blogs out there and I would definitely recommend you read as much as you can on anything that interests you. My problem usually lies in having more books to read than I have time to devote to them. I’m sure there are worse up-hill battles to be in, though.
A Steady State Economy will need for us to value our externalities as best we can in order to take into account every impact we have and move towards a sustainable scale. It will also require us to create policies that protect us when these externalities cannot, or should not, be factored into market forces.
Our accepted model provides us with a free market – one that is omniscient and omnipresent – that allocates resources, goods and services. Neoclassical economists generally assume that when a consumer (that’s you – got to love that label, huh?) makes a decision, he/she does so with all the information required.
When you buy those pants, neoclassical economists assume that you take into account not only the price, but the material the pants are made from, its scarcity, environmental damage, labor associated with its creation, et cetera when you decide to purchase them. In this way the market is perfect at managing scarcity. We all know that reality is far from this picture, however; consumers make decisions with limited information and often without consideration of the far-reaching effects and “externalities.”
Leisure is the thing we so often aspire to gain more of in the US. The irony is apparent in that we have the smallest amount of leisure time in the world. Workers in the European Union have anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks of vacation a year and work about 6-8 hours less per week. Their standard of living is often considered greater than ours. Why? The Growth Economy wants more and more production and consumption.
Membership is $25 ($15 for students) annually and benefits include:
The satisfaction of joining a social movement that supports environmental protection, ecological health, human well-being, and responsible consumption.
The Steady Stater, CASSE’s quarterly e-newsletter with stories about the steady state economy and updates on CASSE’s accomplishments.
Solidarity with others who recognize the trade-off between economic growth and more important goals for society.
A tax deduction to the full extent allowed by law for membership dues.
You also gain access to a wealth of information and community in all of CASSE’s Outreach Volunteers throughout the world. It also helps with the sleeping at night to know that you are helping to further a sustainable world for you children and grandchildren.
When social or environment costs become larger than the benefits of more production and consumption growth is no longer economic. As Daly and Farley put it in their textbook Ecological Economics uneconomic growth happens when continued growth “costs us more than it is worth. A situation in which further expansion entails lost ecosystem services that are worth more than the extra production benefits of the expanded economy.”
Sustainability is quite the buzzword nowadays. What is sustainability anyway? It would appear at face value to have a simple, easily understood meaning. On the contrary, almost everything labeled “sustainable” is not, creating ambiguity in the meaning of the concept. It has become more of a marketing tool than an actual process. Being sustainable is quite different from what is typically called sustainable in our culture currently.
Something is sustainable if it can maintain balance with the system supporting it, and can do so indefinitely. A sustainable process takes only the amount of resources that can be regenerated by its supporting system between each processing cycle. Waste generated by a sustainable process can be absorbed by the surrounding system at the same rate it is created. Sound familiar? On a large scale, that’s the steady state economy.