Points of Progress

This semi-regular report includes things happening in our world, policies, articles and practices in-line with the steady state economy or transitioning to it, that are worth some time to read about –  the good news, the promising results. They are all exciting things happening I just don’t have time to post about each in-depth.

Here are some cool things happening in the world:

Plenitude: The Economics of True Wealth

Juliet Schor is a co-founder of the Center for a New American Dream and a well-resumed author. She has partnered in the past with the likes of Tim Jackson and Bill McKibben on various tasks. A personable, well-spoken women from Boston College, Juliet has a new vision for the economy: plenitude. Her new book, Plenitude: The Economics of True Wealth, attempts to answer an important question: How do we create a society that provides prosperity to us all without relying on continued economic expansion?

Plenitude offers not only a great argument against economic growth as we’ve known it, but a vision for a rethinking productivity and innovation for our future. It is uses an integrated approach to set out a vision to work on all these fronts to see a new way of living that is low-footprint and puts people back to work that creates new forms of wealth and well-being. Read my article on Post Growth and check out the video of her recent talk at Town Hall Seattle on Vimeo here.

The Gulf Oil Spill

As odd as it sounds, I think the gigantic BP oil spill in the gulf is acting as a wake up call to many: this is the future of fossil fuels. It’s only going to get harder and more dangerous. Meanwhile, the largest fishery in the US is being destroyed in the pursuit of a unsustainable fuel source. Hopefully this will open our eyes to the fact that BP really doesn’t have our interests in mind, only its profits. That is what corporations do: go for profits, not for people.

Read Scott’s recent article about this on Post Growth.

The Great Tax Parachute

Its hard for me to keep up with all the amazing things coming out of the new economics foundation (nef). This report was released late last month after lots of news that the UK government (as well as others during this time of economic hardship) announced cuts in programs and government employment will be necessary. However, as nef outlines, there are many progressive taxes we can introduce that can balance the budget and keep those programs.

This proposal is in-line with one of the coming shifts: the great tax shift (working on a post about this, actually). In order to create a sustainable society we must stop subsidizing fossil fuels and intensive, destructive farming but instead tax resource extraction and pollution and institute new subsidies on renewable energy.

3 thoughts on “Points of Progress”

  1. Joshua,

    Glad you’re continuing these “Points of Progress” posts. A helpful roundup of what’s happening out there.

    Yeah, the NEF is really impressive. They’re doing phenomenal stuff over there — I wonder what the level of saturation is that they’re getting with the publiv in the UK?

    The progressive tax shift makes a lot of sense, but man — the opposition here in the States would be *intense.* Think about the Tea Partiers!

    I’m gravitating towards the redistribution of time these days, as opposed to dollars directly; I think people would understand it as more in it for them. The time, in the form of jobs, could be distributed to those who are currently locked out of the system (as you pointed out, here, when you met Juliet Schor: http://postgrowth.org/plenitude-the-new-economics-of-true-wealth/

    Of course, it wouldn’t be clear how that would help bring some solvency back to broke governments. What do you think?


    1. Scott,

      I agree that time allocation is probably a more politically safe bet. However, a progressive tax shift could be played as having lots of benefits for the average Joe/Jane – especially the wacko Tea Partiers who want less taxes. By taxing corporations, pollution, resource extraction, banks, et cetera we could easily raise enough money to significantly reduce, if not eliminate, income taxes and sales taxes. Now, some of those other taxes would like “trickle down” to the consumer, but lowering or removing the taxes we as citizens pay and enforcing more taxes on the large corporations would be a great move – for wealth equality and for the environment. (I still think we should tax the hell out of people making lots of money and provide a financial safety net for those making near-to-nothing)

      Part of that fight would be trying to remove the status quo of profits – the size of the profit, that is. Every company is obsessed with “up and to the right” with their profits, but really they should just be happy with making profit each year and not worried about if it was more than last year (oops, steady state thinking coming out again!).

      I bet if we instituted more of the time allocation alongside with the progressive taxes I think this cultural desire to always make more than last year will begin to look silly to the general public. So, I think we should push for both. 😉

      Glad you like the Points of Progress, thanks for commenting!


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