Digression: the Private Motor Car – a Basic Necessity?

The transport policy referred to in the previous post, where everyone is expected to undertake all journeys in their own big car, has become so entrenched in many countries over the last fifty years that it seems impossible to change or modify.  ... Read more

Review of 1988 edition of Economics for a Round Earth

" . . a most useful work in enhancing my comprehension of the interaction between the discourses of economics and environmental conservation."

The Decline and Rise of Nations

I was asked recently if I thought that American dominance of the world was over, if America would decline like other great powers before it, and what nation would take its place.

I replied that the old idea of a nation becoming ‘great’ and ‘wealthy’ by hugely increasing its consumption and getting control of other nations to keep its own consumption growing, had always been part of human history, but would be quite inappropriate for the future.  ... Read more

Digression: Caution about “Increases” and “Decreases”

These increases or decreases, it must be emphasised, would be not necessarily absolute, but relative to what real wages would have been, depending on other variables, if the money wage change had not taken place. It is necessary to be reminded constantly that we are dealing with an array of interdependent dynamic variables.  ... 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

Who needs the Snail Darter?

A subtle, indirect but nevertheless important further way in which environmental depletion damages economic health is through the extinction of species.

A particular species may not be throughput directly in the sense that a particular economic activity is based directly on that species.  ... Read more

Evolution Not Revolution

Achieving a sustainable world economy would be nothing less than a great step in human evolution, comparable with the mastery of fire or the development of settled agriculture as opposed to hunting and gathering. It concerns the whole world and needs to be tackled on a world, not just a national, basis.  ... Read more

When will the Economy get Back to ‘Normal’?

Someone asked me the other day if I thought the world economy would get back to ‘normal’ this year.

By ‘normal’ this person meant the familiar unsustainable economic pattern of ever-growing consumption. I explained that this might well happen for a while, but because it was not sustainable it would run into trouble and be stalled again in some way, as it was late in 2008 and has been before in recent history.  ... Read more

The Effect of People’s Expectations

The factor of people’s expectations, left out of this discussion so far, would change the outcome somewhat.

The effect of rising expectations would be to stop the “boom” and return to “stagflationary” conditions sooner than if resource depletion alone were the depressing factor.  ... Read more

Economic Growth Redefined

A more accurate definition of economic growth would be any change in the relation between the throughput and renewal rates, for a given resource for which throughput exceeds renewal, in which change the ratio of the throughput rate to the renewal rate falls, or conversely the ratio of renewal to throughput increases.  ... Read more

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