The Derivatives of Wealth

The terms derivative and differential are used here in their mathematical sense, denoting rates of change.

Gross national product and living standard are treated as measures of quantity of wealth. In fact, they are not the quantity but its first derivative or first differential, the rate of wealth-throughput.  ... Read more

Employment and the Steady State

It is necessary here to repeat a point made or implied earlier, that the level and rate of change of economic activity and the level of unemployment are to a large extent independent of one another. Not totally independent of course, each is one determinant of the other.  ... Read more

Digression: Fast Breeder Nuclear Fission Reactors

This technology promises to expand the amount of fissionable fuel available from natural uranium by a factor of about 60, by “breeding” more fuel than it consumes. This doesn’t change the non-renewable nature of the total uranium resource, but it does promise to make it so abundant as to encourage a casual attitude towards energy conservation.  ... Read more

Interest Rates and Ratio Distortion

It is necessary for a lender of money to charge interest because the purchasing power of each money unit is generally expected to fall with time. This has been the trend historically and the very operation of the economy tends to make it so.  ... Read more

Digression: “So Long As We Profit, Costs Elsewhere Aren’t Our Problem”?

A fault of flat earth economics as practiced in free enterprise economies is that it chops a nation’s economy into sections that are too often treated as being self-contained and independent of other sections. This is not a useful or realistic view.  ... Read more

Value Inflation – the Trigger, not the Bullet

The direct addition of value inflation to the rate of price increases is quite small. The larger effect arises from secondary influences, in whose shaping human psychology plays an important part. These influences are triggered by the small value inflation component and its corollary, a slowing of the rate of net throughput increase relative to gross throughput increase.  ... Read more

Stopping Global Warming – Better Communication Needed

In Australia the federal government is trying to implement an Emissions Trading Scheme to combat global warming. Opponents of this scheme argue that it will cost jobs.

Surely the whole point of trying to slow and stop global warming is that if such warming continues unchecked, it will cost millions of jobs, and lives, worldwide, because of the destructive effects of changing climates and rising sea levels.  ... Read more

Global Inequalities in Wealth

Another misconception held by many in both “rich” and “poor” countries is that the “rich” should go on making and using ever more goods and services, thereby “creating wealth” that can somehow find its way to the “poor” nations, making them “richer”.  ... Read more

The Solar-Powered Car

In a feat of enterprise and endurance, Hans Tholstrup drove a solar-powered car across Australia in 1979. The car had a large flat roof arrayed with photoelectric cells that turned the sun’s radiation into electricity and charged a battery.

Solar radiation cannot deliver more than about a kilowatt, roughly an old-fashioned horsepower, per square metre at ground level, and it usually delivers less.  ... Read more

Non-renewable Resources – Leave Them in the Ground?

The principle of consuming resources at a rate no faster than their rate of renewal appears to be untenable in the case of resources whose renewal rate is almost zero, as is true of fossil fuels, gas, oil, and coal, also fissile uranium and thorium.  ... Read more

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