Economy 106 posts

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 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.

How the light gets in—The science behind growth scepticism | Blog by Tim Jackson
The Entropy Law still matters. CUSP director Tim Jackson responds to Michael Liebreich’s essay on the ‘The secret of eternal growth’.
A government is not a household | Blog by Frank van Lerven and Andrew Jackson
Claims of ending austerity ring hollow, Frank van Lerven and Andrew Jackson write, until we do away the ‘household fallacy’, and realise that public spending can be deployed as a potent weapon against many of the challenges we face today. (This blog first appeared on the NEF website).
Beyond Redistribution—Confronting inequality in an era of low growth | An Economy That Works, Briefing Paper No 2
The second in our series of briefing papers on building An Economy That Works explores inequality in the UK. It examines the evidence for rising inequality over the last fifty years, estimates the economic welfare lost to society from an unequal distribution of incomes and addresses the critical question of managing inequality in the context of declining growth rates.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Monetising nature: a metaphor too far? | Blog by Aled Jones
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.
Understanding the ‘New Normal’—The Challenge of Secular Stagnation | An Economy That Works, Briefing Paper No 1
This first in our series of briefing papers on building An Economy That Works explores the underlying phenomenon of ‘secular stagnation’ – a long-term decline in the rate of growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The paper examines the evidence, explores the causes and discusses the implications of what some now call the ‘new normal’.
Measuring Up – how the UK is performing on the SDGs | Report
UKSSD publishing first comprehensive assessment of the UK’s performance against the SDGs. With support from CUSP on SDG 17, highlighting a significant danger of the UK quality of life getting worse if action is not taken.
The Return of Character: Parallels Between Late-Victorian and Twenty-First Century Discourses | Journal Paper by Nick Taylor
There has been an increasingly common trend in the UK to identify character skills and traits as the basis for various individual successes and achievements. In education policy and employment services, character has been linked to the making of successful, morally aware, employable and socially mobile citizens. This article explores the late-19th-century use of character discourses, focusing on the economist Alfred Marshall.
Katniss Everdeen, Utopia, and The Future of Work | Blog by Simon Mair
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.
The Future of Work—Lessons from the History of Utopian Thought | Working Paper No 13
This paper aims to contribute towards the development of a political economy of work fit for purpose in a world of social and environmental limits. In order to get beyond today’s dominant conceptions of work in a growth-based capitalism, Simon Mair, Angela Druckman and Tim Jackson explore the role of work in historical utopias.
Enjoyable, meaningful lives without economic growth or jobs? | Guest blog by Alison Kidd
How will people live enjoyably and meaningfully in a world of less economic growth? Do the care, craft, culture and creative activities which CUSP is exploring offer a promising alternative prosperity? Behavioural psychologist Alison Kidd recently studied the activities of 325 UK people to find out what they found enjoyable and meaningful to see if she could get clues.
From stranded workers to enabled workers—Lessons for a successful low carbon economy | Blog by Lucy Stone
From stranded to enabled workers — the transition to renewable, low carbon economies is a huge opportunity to create more stable, healthy sources of employment, a new Agulhas report finds, but it needs smart management. CUSP Fellow Lucy Stone is highlighting some of the key findings.
Climate Justice as economic mobilization | Seminar w Stefan Jacobsen, London 21 June 2018
Drawing on a newly published book, this talk will give a brief outline of the economic ideas that have been central in the buildup of a global movement for Climate Justice (CJ) since the 1990s. Jacobsen argues that although campaigns against the dominance of carbon markets and for divestment strengthened the CJ movement in raw numbers, these approaches also marked a move away from earlier demands for radical equality as part of transitioning away from fossil fuels.
Economic Theory for the Anthropocene | Workshop w Ioana Negru and Gaël Giraud, 3 July 2018
In the 10 years since the financial crisis, heterodox theories of the economy have flourished. On 3 July 2018, as part of a workshop, CUSP and the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Surrey are pleased to invite you to two talks by leading economists in the field.
Against all odds? Modelling the low-carbon transition | Blog by Martin Sers
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.
Can a play start a conversation and generate multi-disciplinary projects? | Guest blog by Shirley Wardell
Few people understand how money works, and yet it has a vital part in our lives. In her new theatre play ‘Balance’, former Positive Money consultant Shirley Wardell tries to address this issue by making the topic relevant to people who watch the play — and to those who act in it.
CIRCONOMÌA | Circular Economy Festival w Tim Jackson and Kerry Kennedy, Milan/Pollenzo 24-25 May 2018
On 24 and 25 May 2018, Tim Jackson will be joining Kerry Kennedy, human rights lawyer and daughter of Robert Kennedy, for a series of dialogues on prosperity, inequality and human rights at the 3rd Circonomìa festival in Italy. Under the theme of  "growth without prosperity, prosperity without growth", Tim and Kerry will be discussing the legacy of Robert Kennedy's historic speech at the University of Kansans on the failings of measurement and vision that, after 50 years, still haunt both economic policy and our everyday life.
‘Secular stagnation’ meets the ‘GDP fetish’ | Blog by Tim Jackson
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.
The Post-Growth Challenge — Secular Stagnation, Inequality and the Limits to Growth | Working Paper No 12
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’.