Post Growth Institute

New Post Growth Site

I’ve been silent for the past few weeks for a couple reasons: my wife’s been working through her finals and I’ve been working on the new Post Growth website. Check out the new Post Growth Institute website

I’ve also been working on a guest post for The Daly News, which will hopefully be finished in the next week or two. It will partially be a much revised, updated combination of two of my older posts, “Decoupling Demystified” and “The Limits of Efficiency.” Keep an eye out.

Also, I’ve started a Tumblr blog here. This site is going to act similar to how I’ve been utilizing twitter, just expanded: a place for ideas, conversation and brainstorming – as well as the occasional rant, rave, and random thoughts. Check it out.

My point? I’ll be back on Steady State Revolution in usual force soon. Don’t you worry, there’s still plenty of things to talk about – we’re not sustainable yet. 😉

Decoupling Demystified

Vinyl Ready Art - Road Signs
Can We Separate GDP Growth And Ecological Limits?

Next time you run into a classically trained economist (happens all the time, right?) start talking with him/her about ecological limits. They might squirm a little, but probably respond as trained: with some zombie-like responses about “decoupling.” What is decoupling? Basically, it’s a concept of being able to continue growing economic output without a corresponding increase in environmental impact.

The overall idea is that improvements in production efficiency allow you to make more with less. Theoretically we can increase our efficiency and make more stuff using the same amount of resources and/or generating the same amount of pollution.

Applying this concept to renewable resources would be incredibly beneficial. We could use wood, for instance, in a more sustainable fashion if we decoupled the economic growth from resource use and did so under the ecological limits of forest regeneration.

As you might have already guessed, there are quite a few flaws with this concept. You might have also noticed that it seems at first glance to have a broad definition. In general, however, there are two types of economic decoupling: relative and absolute. The first type appears to have a cursory chance of working, the latter is fundamentally impossible.

Continue reading “Decoupling Demystified”