Themes 299 posts

The CUSP work programme is organised around five core themes: (M)eaning and moral framings of the good life; the role of the (A)rts and culture in delivering of prosperity; (P)olitical and organisational dimensions of sustainable prosperity; (S)ocial and psychological understandings of the good life; and (S)ystems analysis to explore narratives of sustainable prosperity.

The MAPSS themes are drawn together through collaboration and cross-cutting projects, such as An Economy That Works, Investing In the Future, and our work as secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Limits to Growth.

Which financial architecture can protect environmental commons? | Article by Nick Molho and Tim Jackson
The discourse around ‘natural capital’ potentially offers a way to integrate decisions about the commons effectively into economic decisions. Investing in the commons is key to protecting the flow of services provided to society by natural capital. Recent exploration of the potential for investing in natural infrastructure has highlighted numerous mechanisms, which could help turn this proposition into a reality.
Why some cities are ‘rebel cities’—interview with Yaz Brien about Bristol’s resistance scene | by Joost de Moor
Grassroots activism is widely considered a vital element in society’s shift to becoming more just and ecologically balanced. What is it about certain places/cities that makes them more conducive to the emergence and sustainability of environmental activism?
The Future Starts Today | CUSP Newsletter October 2018
Change is in the air. Just a week after the IPCC’s game-changing report on meeting the 1.5o target was published, the UK government brought out its latest Global Strategic Trends (GST) review. Compiled under the unlikely tutelage of the Ministry of Defence, the review is a sobering read, recognising, with little uncertainty, that climate breakdown, environmental destruction and increasing inequality are key security threats. Perhaps more surprisingly, GST 2018 openly discusses the growth dilemma, drawing on a background paper commissioned from us last year.
The Post-growth Challenge: Secular Stagnation, Inequality and the Limits to Growth | Journal Paper by Tim Jackson
Sluggish recovery in the wake of the financial crisis has revived discussion of a ‘secular stagnation’. These conditions have been blamed for rising inequality and political instability. Tim Jackson contests this view, pointing instead to a steadfast refusal to address the ‘post-growth challenge’. (An earlier draft of the article was published as CUSP Working Paper No 12.)
Global Strategic Trends | MOD taking note of the Post-Growth Challenge
On 15 October, the UK Ministry of Defence’s think tank, the Development Concepts and Doctrine Centre, published it’s sixth Global Strategic Trends report. 'The Future Starts Today' draws on a range of analysis across academia, business, government departments and nations from across the globe, including commissioned research by CUSP Director Tim Jackson.
This Must be the Place: An interview with Dan Lyttleton | By Mark Ball
Coming at an interesting time for the city, Dan Lyttleton’s new photo book This Must be the Place prompts discussions of Stoke ‘free from cliches’. Given CUSP’s continued interest in the city, Mark Ball sat down with Dan to talk about his new book, the role of photography, and Stoke.
The Dilemma of Growth | Panel debate w CUSP Director Tim Jackson and Deutsche Bank Chief Economist David Folkerts-Landau
As part of the 2018 ZEIT Wirtschaftsforum, CUSP Director Tim Jackson and Deutsche Bank Chief Economist David Folkerts-Landau were invited for a debate on the dilemma of growth, the relevance of GDP growth for wellbeing, and the political feasibility of a postgrowth agenda.
No hard feelings: Why environmental scholars can’t afford to dismiss children’s views of the good life | Blog by Anastasia Loukianov
“What can children tell you about the good life? Oh popsicles are great, raisins suck.’’ — conversations like this can make for a good laugh, but exemplify an almost systemic scepticism towards children’s legitimacy in social debate, CUSP researcher Anastasia Loukianov finds. There are compelling reasons, she argues, for working alongside young people in defining what it might mean to live well in a world of planetary limits.
The value of disused urban spaces for young people | Blog by Laurel Gallagher
Since 2016, CUSP Fellow Laurel Gallagher has been developing youth-led placemaking projects in semi-wild disused urban spaces. Workshops invite young people to explore disused spaces, re-imagining them for their own purposes while experts bring the tools and skills needed to transform young people’s ideas into reality. In this blog, Laurel summarises a few of the project findings.
The Future We Want: Shaping Environmental Politics | Networking Event, London 26 Oct 2018
CUSP researchers at the PSA Specialist Group Environmental Politics organising a networking event for policymakers, academics and environmental NGOs to discuss environmental policy-making in a shifting political landscape.
Heat, Greed and Human Need | Seminar with Ian Gough, Guildford 1 Nov 2018
Prof Ian Gough is Visiting Professor at the Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion and an Associate at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. Ian’s latest book, and the focus for this CUSP/CES seminar, is Heat, Greed and Human Need. It offers a powerful analysis of the connections between climate change, economic growth and social policy.
Making transformation tangible: We all need to work together | Blog by Katherine Trebeck
Our approach to economics and development needs fundamental transformation. A new global initiative is making connections between the diverse institutions and movements working on that task. Facilitating collaboration and knowledge exchange, the key aims of the new alliance are "to amplify and connect, to build and to promote the building of a wellbeing economy".
Investing psychic (not material) energy: flow experiences and sustainable prosperity | Blog by Amy Isham
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.
CUSP Summer School 2018: Finding your place in the world of sustainable prosperity | Blog by Ellen Stenslie
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.
Flow Activities as a Route to Living Well With Less | Journal Paper by Amy Isham, Birgitta Gatersleben and Tim Jackson
Research suggests that the excessive focus on the acquisition of material goods promoted by our consumer society may be detrimental to well-being. Current Western lifestyles, which promote unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, therefore risk failing to bring citizens the happiness they seek.
Rethinking Economic Policy in the EU | 2018 Post-Growth Conference w Tim Jackson, Brussels 18-20 Sept 2018
Scientists, politicians, and policymakers gathering in Brussels for landmark conference: Hosted at the EU parliament, the multi-stakeholder event is exploring visions and solutions for a post-growth economy in Europe.
Advancing SE Research | CUSP at Social Enterprise World Forum 2018
The Social Enterprise World Forum 2018 is an international event for social enterprises from all over the world to come together, share wisdom, build networks and explore how to create a more sustainable future. In its 10th year, this gathering of social entrepreneurs, community activities, support providers, policy makers and academics will be exploring ideas of alternative enterprise from around the world.
Can the financial system work for the economy, people & the planet? | Lecture by Nick Silver
The current financial system developed to serve capitalism 1.0, a world of mass employment based on producing physical goods. This world is ceasing to exist – this talk will discuss the trends that are causing the change, and how finance needs to change to serve the economy of the future.
Exploring Progress | CUSP newsletter September 2018
As the new academic year begins we are pleased to invite you to our latest Nature of Prosperity Dialogue hosted by Rowan Williams. Guest speakers include Kerry Kennedy, Clive Lewis MP and Miatta Fahnbulleh. For those who enjoy macroeconomic modelling, our LowGrow SFC model simulation tool is now live online, allowing users to explore scenarios for the Canadian economy out to 2067. As usual you’ll also find links to our latest journal papers and blogs. Finally, we’re excited to announce that CUSP has been shortlisted for the 2018 Finance for the Future Awards.
Sustainable value and trade-offs — Delivering sustainability in supply networks | Journal Paper by Geraldine Brennan and Mike Tennant
Conceptualising firms from a business ecosystem, value-, or supply- network perspective captures the boundary-spanning nature of value creation. To explore the relationship dynamics that enable or inhibit sustainable value creation, we present a comparative case study of how situational logics and power relations are embedded in business models within a UK brewer and its malt supply chain.
LowGrow SFC: An ecological macroeconomic simulation model by Tim Jackson and Peter Victor
System dynamics model by Tim Jackson and Peter Victor, developing low carbon and sustainable prosperity scenarios for the Canadian economy out to 2067. The scenarios are not predictions of what will happen, but an exploration of possibilities. Interested readers can explore the implications for themselves in the online beta version of the model.
Trusting sustainable food production | Blog by Fergus Lyon and Lovisa Näslund
In a transition to a more sustainable future, we need to dramatically change how we produce and source food, and develop systems that encourage consumers to purchase the sustainable foods that are available.
CUSP shortlisted for 2018 ICAEW/A4S Finance For The Future Award
The finalists for Finance for the Future Awards 2018 have been announced by the founding organisations, ICAEW and A4S, and their partner Deloitte. CUSP was shortlisted in the Driving Change Through Education, Training and Academia award, which recognises the contribution of individuals, organisations or partnerships in driving action towards integrating sustainability through education, training and academia. Now in its seventh year, the awards ceremony will take place on 16 October 2018.
One Hundred Islands — An Interactive Installation | York Theatre Royal, 6 Nov 2018
One Hundred Islands is an installation that has been created through a collaboration between The Bare Project Theatre Company and the CUSP. The installation responds to the concept of denial: in particular the denial of the immediate need for change. Why are we failing to act? Is it that we won’t listen or that we are unable to?
Young lives in seven cities | CYCLES Exhibition, London 7 Nov 2018
In our research we have been listening to young people around the world talk about their everyday lives, including what they like about where they live and what they might like to change. As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, you'll be hearing about young peoples’ everyday urban lives, and will be able to engage with our international CYCLES team — and take home a visually rich summary document.
Getting sustainable values into a sustainable business | London, 8 Nov 2018
How do small businesses, micro businesses and those who are self employed put their sustainability values into practice while growing their business? The event, as part of this year's ESRC Festival of Social Sciences is held at the Impact Hub Islington, and will build on a collaboration between CUSP and the ESRC IAA project 'Growing Greener: Creating a New Values-based Environmental Engagement Toolkit for SME Intermediaries'.
The Political Economy of Capitalism | INET workshop w Simon Mair, 27 August 2018
CUSP researcher Simon Mair will be presenting research at the forthcoming INET workshop on Political Economy of Capitalism. Titled ‘Capital and Environmental Crisis: insights from Adam Smith’, the paper sets out to explain two stylised facts of the modern economy: that the economy is becoming more energy efficient but economic growth is still tightly coupled to energy use, and that at a global scale different energy carriers are complements not substitutes.
Dialogues in Turbulent Times | CUSP at 2018 International Degrowth Conference, Malmö, 21-25 Aug
CUSP researchers Simon Mair, Ben Gallant and Ellen Stenslie will be presenting papers at the 6th International Degrowth Conference for ecological sustainability and social equity in Malmö. Apart from being a space for scholarly debates, degrowth conferences aim at promoting cooperation of various groups in the development of scientific, social and political proposals towards ecologically sustainable and socially just transformation.
The Nature of Prosperity Dialogue: An Economy That Works For All — London, 24 Oct 2018
We’re delighted to be joined in Westminster by Kerry Kennedy, US human rights lawyer and daughter of RFK, Clive Lewis MP, Shadow Treasury Minister, Miatta Fahnbulleh, Chief Executive of the New Economics Foundation, Michael Jacobs, Director of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice, and Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury.
Business Strategies Beyond Growth | CUSP co-hosting workshops at AOM 2018 in Chicago, 10-14 Aug 2018
In the context of limitations on growth, and an emphasis on sustainability, businesses need to rethink how they operate. This was the challenge being explored in workshops co-hosted by CUSP at the 78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
A Cultural Shift towards an Ecological Democracy | Blog by Marit Hammond
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.
Embracing the Unthinkable | Guest blog by Alan Simpson
The UK is becoming an angry, divided and insecure country, Alan Simpson writes. Right now, it doesn’t have to be that bad. But we don’t have much time to play with. Another world is still (just) possible, but we need the courage to build it, now.
Vacancy: Postdoctoral Fellow for CYCLES (University of Canterbury, NZ)
We are seeking a part-time Postdoctoral Fellow to join our NZ based team of researchers working on our international CYCLES study: a study of the lifestyles and embedded experience of young people aged 12-24 in urban communities.
A review of EROEI-dynamics energy-transition models | Journal Paper by Craig Rye and Tim Jackson
The need for an environmentally sustainable economy is indisputable but our understanding of the energy-economy interactions (dynamics) that will occur during the transition is insufficient. This raises fascinating questions on the future of economic growth, energy technology mix and energy availability.
Work: a situation vacant | Blog by Richard Douglas
We need a new defining idea for political economy, writes Richard Douglas. Could we find it in the idea of economic activity as service? (This article originally appeared in Issue 6 of The Mint.)
Growth for the sake of growth | Guest blog by Federico Demaria
“Growth for the sake of growth” remains the credo of governments and international institutions, Federico Demaria finds. The time is ripe, he argues, not only for a scientific degrowth research agenda, but also for a political one. (This article is a transcript of Federico’s address to the European Commission, in preparation of the 2018 Post-Growth conference at the EU Parliament, 18-19 Sept 2018.)
Politics for the ‘New Normal’ | CUSP newsletter July 2018
This July edition of our CUSP newsletter features the first in our new series of policy briefings on An Economy That Works, an upcoming journal article from Marit Hammond, making a renewed case for ecological democracy and Victor Anderson's working paper on protecting the interests of future generations. We have just unearthed the unpublished transcript from our 2016 public meeting of the APPG with Caroline Lucas, Jørgen Randers, Graeme Maxton, Kate Raworth and Federico Demaria discussing the End of Growth. It still makes for fascinating reading.
Protecting the Interests of Future Generations | Working Paper No 14
Even the most perfect democracy can only represent the wishes of people currently alive. But how can the interests of members of future generations be safeguarded in political systems? This paper outlines different ways in which this could be achieved through reforms to the UK political system, and then looks in more detail at examples in other countries.
A Cultural Account of Ecological Democracy | Journal Paper by Marit Hammond
What are the political foundations of an ecologically sustainable society? Can—or must—they be democratic? Absolutely 'yes' Marit Hammond argues, for sustainability is a moving target that requires a reflexive cultural ethos based on democratic values.
Beyond 5%: why autonomy matters for workers’ wellbeing | Blog by Simon Mair
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.