Get the Word Out!

by Joshua on February 26, 2009 · 0 comments

While trying to transition this blog onto a new platform, I will also be starting a new phase in my posts. Over the next few months I intend to move from the generalities of steady-state economics to the specifics; that is, we know that it’s good, but how do we get there and what does it actual entail? Well, we’ll start delving into the transition and the beautiful life on the other side of the transition.

To start that transition we need to talk policy and public opinion. I’ve posted before about pushing for political change, now it’s time we start taking actual action in that arena. One SSR-follower, Allen, has been writing to magazines and newspapers. With his permission, I’m posting a copy of his letter as an example of the types of pro-active work everyone of us could (and should) be doing. Please take this as an example and alter this type of letter to fit your recipient.

It is very welcome that so many are seeing, thinking and writing about the various groupthink processes that have gotten us to the present economic situation. However, the core underlying groupthink has not yet been seriously questioned. I am referring to the belief system that economic, social, and personal well being requires dependence on a growth-oriented economy (with that growth defined numerically in various ways). That belief, and the institutional and personal behaviors that follow from it, needs to be seriously and thoroughly questioned. I urge you to do a major article addressing this issue soon.

Fortunately, many professionals have already done considerable groundwork over the past twenty years, paving the way for a more widespread reconsideration. Their alternative view is that a “steady state economy” will in fact do more to enhance our economic, social and personal well-being over time than a growth-based economy. The work has been done under the headings of “steady state economics,” “sustainable economics” or “ecological economics.” (The field of “environmental economics” does not, generally speaking, address the large scale systemic issues.)

I am writing to you as a citizen and librarian. As a librarian, I am practiced at uncovering core, substantive information quickly and have identified several key resources that would provide plenty for a writer to start with:

Herman Daly, formerly Senior Economist in the Environment Department at the World Bank, is currently professor of public policy at the University of Maryland. He is regarded as the intellectual father of this perspective. A primary work is his textbook Ecological Economics published in 2004. His email is hdaly@umd.edu.

The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (Brian Czech President) is a central organizing think tank in the US. Their website will present the core ideas as simply as possible and lead you to other substantive information. Their address is http://www.steadystate.org/

Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design Not Disaster is a substantive academic book by Peter Victor, Professor at York University, published in 2008. Obviously (and unfortunately) the message in the subtitle of this book didn’t get through in time. Prof. Victor is at: pvictor@yorku.ca.

Joshua Farley, at the Gund Institute at the University of Vermont is one of the leading ecological economists at this time and is committed to communicating with the larger community. He is also the co-author with Herman Daly of Ecological Economics. He can be reached at: Joshua.Farley@uvm.edu

In addition, at least two mainstream scientific publications, Scientific American and New Scientist, have already profiled this perspective. The Scientific American article is attached. New Scientist devoted their Oct. 18-24, 2008, issue to “The Folly of Growth, How to Stop the Economy Killing the Planet”. There is also a strictly academic journal for the whole field called Ecological Economics.

Finally, the reconsideration needs to substantively address the intersection of the personal/psychological and public/institutional. Lynne Twist has been doing superb work around this for a long time: http://www.soulofmoney.org/

As indicated I am writing as a citizen. I would be happy to be interviewed as a citizen should that fit. I would also be happy to do further pro-bono library research if you would like.

Thanks again to Allen for writing and allowing me to post this! For those interested, the Scientific American Article is available here. There are also many letter templates available online through CASSE.

Keep up the writing folks! There are tons of links to more information on this blog, use them wisely! We must push for a steady-state in everything we do and everyone we talk with – it is our obligation to future generations and the continuation of human kind!

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