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Investing psychic (not material) energy: flow experiences and sustainable prosperity | Blog by Amy Isham

September 20, 2018

As the negative well-being effects of materialistic lifestyles continue to be documented, it is crucial that we start to uncover ways of living well that do not rely so heavily on material inputs. Summarising her recent journal article with Birgitta Gatersleben and Tim Jackson, Amy Isham considers how choosing to invest our attention and effort into the creation of flow experiences might be able to help us to achieve sustainable prosperity.


Right before the calendar moved into autumn, we hosted our second CUSP summer school, bringing together young researchers for three days to share ideas, build friendships and have conversations that cut across (and sometimes challenge) the academic disciplines and experiences. In this short blog, Ellen Stenslie shares a few reflections.


A Cultural Shift towards an Ecological Democracy | Blog by Marit Hammond

August 5, 2018

Democracy – as the political embodiment of a commitment to listening to the whole society equally, and facilitating fair participation in shaping its future – is not an inconvenience, but the only conceivable foundation for sustainable prosperity.


Beyond 5%: why autonomy matters for workers’ wellbeing | Blog by Simon Mair

July 20, 2018

A recent trial of 4 day week in New Zealand inspired a 5% increase in life satisfaction. As celebrated as the results are, such measures are unlikely to contribute sufficiently towards more sustainable economies, Simon Mair argues, reflecting on the limits of such reforms within our current system. He wonders what it might take to get beyond 5% to something more utopian.


Natural Capital Valuation: The approaches to natural capital valuation we studied included 15 cases applying the so called Payment for Ecosystem Services framework, three Cost Benefit Analysis cases, and three Compensation Payment Schemes.

July 14, 2018

Natural Capital Valuation is a fiercely debated approach to account for nature in business and management decision processes. A new report by Aled Jones and colleagues finds that without extra checks in place to accompany the valuation frameworks, there is a real risk that biodiversity loss actually worsens as monetisation tools are embedded — and that they are not being used as intended.


July 9, 2018

The search for innovative ways of tackling sustainability and conservation challenges while supporting local communities and livelihoods has brought together a group of researchers from Colombia, Mexico, Peru and the UK. Summarising the workshop, Fergus Lyon is reflecting on how the concept of natural capital can be used (and abused).


July 6, 2018

The way we pay attention affects our wellbeing and our relationships. But it also connects to our freedoms, our political decisions and our deeper sense of purpose. This post considers: what is the link between our attention and our prosperity?


June 21, 2018

What is the future of work in a world of social and environmental limits? Drawing lessons from utopian fiction, and introducing the latest CUSP working paper, Simon Mair wonders if we can avoid ending up in the Hunger Games.


June 12, 2018

Leisure doesn’t always make business sense, and success doesn’t mean turning a profit. Against the logic of expansion and abundance, Stoke has something major metropolitan cities do not, Mark Ball finds. His research looks at the connections between leisure, wellbeing and sense of place — and currently involves playing a lot of darts


The Energy-Emissions Trap

June 1, 2018

Can renewable energy supply grow rapidly enough to both, cover societies growing energy needs and displace fossil fuel use sufficiently to keep carbon emissions below some “safe” level? — the leading question of a recent CUSP paper in Ecological Economics. In this blog, Martin Sers is summarising the findings.


Make! Craft Britain | Review by Sue Venn

May 17, 2018

One of the research projects within CUSP is concerned with how wellbeing can be enhanced through immersing oneself in challenging activities, leading to a state of ‘flow’. BBC Four’s recent MAKE! Craft Britain programme is a perfect showcase of that concept. The programme is connecting people to traditional crafts, past and present generations — and, importantly, to those with whom we are crafting.


‘Secular stagnation’ meets the ‘GDP fetish’

May 13, 2018

Tim Jackson introduces his new CUSP working paper ‘The Post-Growth Challenge’, in which he discusses the state of advanced economies ten years after the crisis. Our attempts to prop up an ailing capitalism have increased inequality, hindered ecological innovation and undermined stability, he argues.


May 9, 2018

‘Utopias’ is one of the cross-cutting themes in CUSP, spanning our various research programmes. In this blog, Will Davies is reflecting on what the concept of utopia can offer in terms of its prefigurative potential, and how it is informing our interdisciplinary research.


Confronting inequality: beyond basic income

April 30, 2018

Ten years after the financial crisis, inequality in advanced economies is still rising. Tim Jackson presents the findings of a new CUSP working paper to explore potential solutions.


April 14, 2018

The green economy of the future will be shaped by the innovative enterprises emerging today. But picking the winners of tomorrow is notoriously difficult. Small entrepreneurial businesses wanting to contribute to the transition to a low carbon and sustainable economy may have the desire to scale up, but without the trading track record or the assets for collateral, they may be turned down by banks and other investors.


Bridge

March 12, 2018

The Green Investment Bank (GIB) was the UK government’s flagship programme for the green economy. Investing into longterm low carbon infrastructure projects, it was set out to lead by example and attract private funds to follow suit. But what do we know about its actual impact?


February 9, 2018

The electorate are not asking their representatives to act on climate change, research by CUSP fellow Rebecca Willis indicates. This presents a fundamental dilemma for politicians who understand the urgency. How can they square this circle?


January 9, 2018

Risk is our society’s dominant way of governing the future in order to tame uncertainty. This is the case not only for financial crises but also for our responses to global environmental crises. The dominant risk management approach focusses on the prospect of financial devaluation and instability induced by climate change. But the kinds of calculation that are ultimately most pressing relate to how we might consider the financial system as an ecological regime itself.


December 19, 2017

What can prosperity possibly mean in a world of environmental and social limits? This question lies at the heart of CUSP’s five year research programme on sustainable prosperity. We wanted to know how ordinary people in different contexts might answer this question, so we set out to ask them. What we found was fascinating.


December 15, 2017

While some investors put pressure on some companies to act in a more sustainable or socially just way, as yet this is at the margin. In this post, Charles Seaford suggests that this pressure could move centre stage, and that changes to, and clarifications of, fiduciary duty could play a part in this.


October 3, 2017

The people who make our clothes are paid very low wages. We instinctively feel that this is unfair, but it can be hard to articulate why this is. Even harder, is saying what can be done about it. Summarising his recent journal article with Tim Jackson and Angela Druckman, Simon Mair uses the living wage as a basis for claims about fairness, and discuss regional collective bargaining as a solution to unfair wages.


As the full extent of the damages from recent natural disasters are calculated across the Caribbean and the Southern United States and Lloyds of London begins paying out $4.5bn of claims, there is a stronger argument than ever to invest in natural capital as a way of improving resilience, Alex White finds.


September 29, 2017

In the UK, community health and wellbeing services are experiencing pressures of increasing need and resource constraints. A new CEEDR publication in Research Policy shows how social enterprises can develop innovative responses to help address the challenges faced.


September 13, 2017

The question of whether it is possible to live better by consuming less is a central one for CUSP. In order to answer this we need a rich understanding of the meanings that ‘stuff’ has in our lives. In this research log, Kate Burningham and colleagues offer insights into their analytical work in progress, summarising initial observations from a recent qualitative interview project with ten 18-22 year olds.


August 15, 2017

Rapid developments in technology and unpredictable economies are destabilising employment as we know it. What are the possible solutions? It’s not the demand for human labour that is disappearing, Tim Jackson argues, but the institutions and economics to deliver it.


July 25, 2017

Sustainable prosperity is underpinned by the principle that value creation and increased quality of life can both be decoupled from resource use – making the circular economy a key aspect. In this blog, CUSP research fellow Geraldine Brennan summarises some of her recent findings.


July 24, 2017

Dematerialisation of the economy – more value from each unit of ‘stuff’ – is a well-established trend in developed countries. Can food retailers and their supply chains accelerate this trend, CUSP co-investogator Charles Seaford asks, or will government have to intervene?


July 19, 2017

Stoke-On-Trent has set itself an ambitious task with its bid for UK City of Culture 2021. Should it be awarded the promising title then it will face a number of competing priorities and tensions, Jonathan Ward comments on the recent shortlisting, and the city should take it seriously.


July 17, 2017

The recently published climate risk recommendations by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) have been met with high-level and cross-sectoral buy in. The UK government should take note, Alex White argues, and ensure to develop national reporting requirements in line with these best practices. 


June 21, 2017

The social economy has many roles to play in tackling poverty, building inclusivity and promoting sustainability. Ian Vickers summarises recent findings that show its potential is not being fully realised in the UK, despite the opportunities provided by the devolution agenda in cities and other local areas.


May 20, 2017

The new government will need to have an ambitious and stable low carbon policy at the heart of its project to support the UK’s competitiveness and deliver export opportunities for its businesses, argues Nick Molho, CUSP co-investigator and executive director of the Aldersgate Group.


April 28, 2017

As part of its involvement in CUSP, the Aldersgate Group is launching a one-year project to understand how to increase private investment in green infrastructure. In her blog, project lead Alex White explains how we will be looking at the most material barriers and considering the solutions to incentivise greater investment in the projects that will underpin the UK’s upcoming policy packages.


March 23, 2017

Documentary photographer and CUSP fellow Kerstin Hacker is investigating the developing consumer culture of Lusaka (Zambia) and examines photographically the emergence of a new cultural sector. Her project is set out to enable artists to participate meaningfully in the debate around sustainability and prosperity of the sector and the country as whole. In this blog she introduces her work.


January 25, 2017

At CUSP we’re looking at sustainable finance from various angles. By combining transdisciplinary perspectives, we aim to provide a richer understanding of investment and shed light on issues that have hampered the development of a green economy and more sustainable forms of prosperity.


January 16, 2017

Climate change is not an easy subject for politicians – they have to turn scientific consensus about the need for action into a workable agenda that can win people’s support. But how do politicians go about this? In this blog, CUSP fellow Rebecca Willis summarises her research findings.


Theresa May, Her Royal Majesty the Queen

December 19, 2016

Prosperity isn’t just about earning more and having more, it consists in our ability to participate meaningfully in the life of society. A vital element, Tim Jackson argues, that has gone missing for ordinary people over recent decades. We must question the fundamental structures behind our economies before they will work for everyone.


December 9, 2016

“When an idea is sketched on a page, it can be examined and discussed much more easily than when it merely exists in people’s heads.” In this blog, CUSP Fellow James McKay introduces his recent project: A dream of a low carbon future.


December 6, 2016

In this blog, Research Fellow Craig Rye introduces a set of novel analysis techniques, drawn from ecology and physics, to better understand the changing behaviour of recessions and the business cycle (recession cycle) in historical GDP datasets.


July 20, 2016

The Agenda 2030 forms an ambitious set of long-run goals. Yet, for those most affected, the year 2030 seems like a very long time in the future. How can we make the most of it and involve kids in the SDGs task, Sue Venn asks, reflecting on her participation at a recent Global Goals conference at Ken Stimpson Community School.


May 30, 2016

Small and medium sized enterprises are a dominant part of the global economy but get less attention than larger corporates in discussions about environmental issues. This opens up a fascinating debate, Fergus Lyon finds, about their role both within the ‘green growth’ agenda and the vision for ‘post-growth’ or steady state economics.


April 26, 2016

In this blog Angela Druckman explains how CUSP is collating visions of the future, and exploring which types of economic systems may make the achievement of sustainable prosperity more plausible.


April 19, 2016

To coincide with the launch of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Limits to Growth, Tim Jackson discusses the continuing relevance of the Club of Rome’s groundbreaking report in today’s context and introduces Limits Revisited, a new review of the debate, co-written with environmental writer Robin Webster.


April 13, 2016

What does the ‘good life’ actually mean to people and how are their visions and aspirations informed by aspects of their social, economic and environmental situation? In this blog, co-investigator Kate Burningham explains how CUSP is approaching research into the social and psychological understandings of the good life.


April 5, 2016

A shift towards a sustainable prosperity must ultimately be a shift in values, and needs to be understood as such, co-investigator Dr Will Davies writes in this blog, setting out the work programme for our research theme on the meaning and moral framing of the good life.


March 31, 2016

Arts are communicators of a message, but are an element of sustainable prosperity itself, too, co-investigator Prof Kate Oakley writes in this blog, explaining our research approach to understanding the role of the arts and culture in developing visions for a sustainable prosperity.


March 28, 2016

A transformation of our political discourse and practice will be necessary to achieve a ‪‎Sustainable Prosperity‬, co-investigator Dr Philip Catney writes in this blog, introducing his research perspective on our projects exploring the political and organisational dimensions of sustainable prosperity.


March 22, 2016

In the second blog of our series, CUSP deputy director Prof Fergus Lyon introduces the agenda of our research projects on alternative forms of businesses and social enterprises.


February 18, 2016

In the first blog of our new series, CUSP director Prof Tim Jackson explores the nature of prosperity and the challenge of achieving sustainable prosperity, introducing the CUSP work programme.