Growing the Growth Debate

In an certain ironic sense the “growth” of the growth debate is a bit of an oxymoron, but then again so is “jumbo shrimp.” I am a believer in humanity’s common sense and ability to make progress, even in the face of our own evils and stupidity. It sure seems to me that one could become down-trodden by news of all the degradation of our planet, social bonds, communities, humanity, and equality that result from endless pursuit of material wealth. Yet, it is to our own credit that we realize the err of our ways and make attempts to fix these problems.

There has been an increase in the number of post-growth-ers, de-growth-ers, steady-staters, and general questioning of economic growth in the last year. This might be partially fueled by the global economic recession and the increasing alarm of climate change. I also think it is beginning to fuel itself: our activities to raise awareness are spreading the seeds and we’re starting to see those seeds blossom. This is the early Spring of the Big Growth Debate. I hope to see 2010 as the year we changed the economic discussion on a mainstream level.

I am heading to DC next Tuesday to attend the New Green Economy Conference, where I will be volunteering and helping out, as well as joining in on some great seminars, breakout sessions, and symposia. I will, of course, be blogging while there, keeping you all in the loop of the fun and games.

While I partake in the furthering the growth debate, I hope you’ll take some time to further your knowledge as well! Here are a few resources for you to check out:

  • Economists start to consider that money can’t buy happiness – a recent article by the Guardian about our metrics of prosperity, alternatives to GDP are becoming a bigger topic nowadays
  • Beyond Growth – a new project put together by Jeremy Williams of the blog Make Wealth History
  • Post Growth – a new project I am working on with some fellow steady staters, still in-process, but getting closer to an official launch.
  • Make Wealth History – Jeremy, as mentioned above, is the blogger behind this work – great stuff on sustainability, related news, book reviews, and sustainable economies.
  • cruxcatalyst – Sharon is the other blogger I am working with on the Post Growth project, her blog is her place to show off and stash great articles and the occasional piece of her own work.

New CASSE Site

Also, just a note – if you haven’t seen it yet, the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy has a brand new website design – check it out! They’re still triple checking the site for bugs, but it looks amazing!

Buy Nothing Day

Choose: Citizen or Consumer
Citizen or Consumer?

The holiday seasons have a strong connection with families, harvests, and merriment through most of human history. However, today’s holidays have been corrupted – turned into marketing spectacles for the merriment of executive paychecks. Holidays in our growth economy are about increasing consumer spending, buying newer and bigger, getting more and more. They are no longer about family, friends, community, love, life, or happiness.

Take our beloved symbol of the holiday season: Santa. Mr. Claus is played off as a symbol of hope for young children by media. Hope for what? Gifts! Hope for toys! Santa is the unofficial Coca-Cola mascot during the Christmas season, for Christ’s sake! (pun intended)

This holiday season take back the holidays from the greedy corporations! Make Santa a man who gives love and quality family time instead of a new plastic toy! Join those who are choosing this Black Friday to show the world what they truly value: their lives, their families, and their freedom.

Free Your Consumer Shackles, Reclaim Your Citizen Title

Adbusters is “calling for a Ramadan – like fast. From sunrise to sunset we’ll abstain en masse, not only from holiday shopping, but from all the temptations of our five-planet lifestyles.” Join this year’s Buy Nothing Day Campaign.

Go to the farmer’s market for your Thanksgiving dinner this year. Stay home on Black Friday and play games with your kids, or snuggle up with your loved one by a fire. Save yourself from being one of the yearly victims trampled to death at a Wal-Mart. Buy Nothing! Stop Consumerism in it’s Tracks! Why? Because you are a citizen, not a consumer!! You have the power, now use it well. In a market economy your actions show policy makers what you want. What do you want more of: plastic toys or life?

We’re already over consuming this world out of the ability to support life. We’ve already altered the face of the planet so much that it will never be the same for our children. Do you really think more purchases, greed-oriented business practices, and consumer-driven holidays are the answer? No? then don’t let them be the answer! Boycott Black Friday!

Beyond Talk: Climate Action Now

Time For Action
Time For Action

I have written in the past about climate change and the need for decisive action. You might think this odd for a blog about economics to be talking about climate change. How can I not talk about it? Climate change poses the greatest threat to human civilization since the atom bomb. It is the ecological part of ecological economics. But I digress…

As a blog I hereby official support the Beyond Talk Campaign. It is time for non-violent civil disobedience to make change happen. The Copenhagen Climate Conference is now less than 100 days away and we need a groundswell movement to make change happen NOW.

Beyond Talk is a great campaign originally conceived by The Yes Men and initiated by a group of organizations to “turn up the political heat” and push for a global climate agreement NOW. Check out the founders:

Take the pledge and make a difference – be a true activist!

Steady State Economy: The Revolution Starts Now

The Social Revolution Starts Now!
The Social Revolution Starts Now!

I have been trying to present simple, logical discussions showcasing why our growth economy cannot be sustained. So far we’ve discussed the principles of the steady state economy, ranging from sustainable scale to fair distribution to global climate change to population stability.

Our addiction to growth is pushing forward global climate change and making scarce resources even scarcer. Meanwhile, our economy is in dire conditions. While our governments are trying to bailout the failed system, the people are suffering. Fat-cats are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. Control of our money and banking is in private hands, perpetuating the very growth that is hurting us.

Continue reading “Steady State Economy: The Revolution Starts Now”

Adbusters #85: Thought Control in Economics

Buy This Magazine

85cover_tRead it – thoroughly – and then pass it on to another. Adbusters has endorsed the steady state economic before, quoting Herman Daly and citing the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy as well – but this is a full, cover-to-cover issue on the growing movement for a new, sustainable economy.

In this very well written, collaborative issue everything is tackled: from natural capital to your place in the revolution. Written in part as a guide to creating a movement, as well as a call to economic students everywhere, this is by far one of the best attention-getting new-economic publications I have seen so far. (Also, economic students can receive a free issue here)

Instead of drab, theoretical and college-level pamphlets or briefs this latest issue of Adbusters is that will smack you in the face. Hopefully we can use it to wake some of those neoclassical thinkers up. I particularly enjoy the simple, straight-forward means by which they show in the first section why growth is hurting us and our planet.

I urge you to buy this magazine, or borrow it, or get it from your library!