Economy 82 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.

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’.
The Energy-Emissions Trap | Journal Paper by Martin Sers and Peter Victor
The requirement to reduce emissions to avoid potentially dangerous climate change implies a dilemma for societies heavily dependent on fossil fuels. As renewable capacity requires energy to construct there is an initial fossil fuel cost to creating new renewable capacity. An insufficiently rapid transition to renewables, it turns out, will imply a scenario in which it is impossible to avoid either transgressing emissions ceilings or facing energy shortages.
T h i s is not all there is: Thinking utopias as ideas and practices | Blog by Will Davies
'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.
Thinking About Global Prosperity Measures | Seminar with Matthew Davies, 24 May 2018
In recent years the search for post-GDP metrics has spawned a proliferation of composite indexes that aim to measure national prosperity, progress, happiness etc. In this seminar Matthew Davies will briefly introduce these indexes and how they are constructed, and then examine a range of complex issues that surround them.
Confronting inequality: basic income and the right to work | Blog by Tim Jackson
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.
Confronting inequality in a post-growth world – Basic income, factor substitution and the future of work | Working Paper No 11
Piketty argued that slow growth rates inevitably lead to rising inequality. If true, this hypothesis would pose serious challenges for a ‘post-growth’ society. Fiscal responses to this dilemma include Piketty’s own suggestion to tax capital assets and more recent suggestions to provide a universal basic income that would allow even the poorest in society to meet basic needs.
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.
System Error | New documentary w Tim Jackson investigating the paradigm of ‘economic growth’
Why are we so obsessed with economic growth, knowing that it has devastating effects on our finite planet (and ultimately us)? SYSTEM ERROR looks for answers to this principal contradiction of our time and considers global capitalism from the perspective of those who run it.
A Theory of Change Approach for Measuring Economic Welfare Beyond GDP | Working Paper No 10
It is widely acknowledged that GDP is not a suitable measure of economic welfare. In this paper, Simon Mair, Christine Corlet Walker and Angela Druckman propose a novel framework for indicator development: the ‘Theory of Change’ approach — a causal model approach in which the relationships between system inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes of the economy are explicitly articulated, and can be used to identify theoretically sound indicators for economic welfare.
‘Everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile’ | Blog by Tim Jackson
Fifty years on from Robert Kennedy’s historic speech on the limitations of the GDP at the University of Kansas in March 1968, Tim Jackson reflects on the failings of measurement and vision which still haunt both economic policy and our everyday life.
Towards the New Normal — How to Increase Investment in the UK’s Green Infrastructure | Report
Strategic government intervention can maximise opportunities for private green infrastructure investment, our 'Investing in the Future' project report with the Aldersgate Group finds, setting out a full list of recommendations for government and industry.
Dance Me to the End of Love—An Economics for Tomorrow | Guest blog by Alan Simpson
Any economics that defines the time given to human interaction as negative productivity has lost the plot, Alan Simpson writes in his guest blog. The economy of tomorrow must be built around people and their inbuilt kindness and decency.
Towards the New Normal | Report Launch, 12 March 2018
Increasing private investment in green infrastructure is a crucial way of meeting the UK’s strategic and environmental policy objectives cost-effectively, whilst securing more jobs, and other economic targets. This report by Aldersgate Group and CUSP provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities in the UK’s green finance market and suggests key recommendations for government, businesses and investors.
Carillion may have collapsed, but public-private partnerships can be so much more | Guest blog by Pete Barbrook-Johnson
Concerns around private companies delivering under par public services have long been aired. The collapse of Carillon, a long-standing contractor to the UK government did only worsen the picture. We should take advantage of this public ‘crisis’ in PPP, Pete Barbook-Johnson writes, not to consign them to the neoliberal history books, but to reimagine and improve them.
Craft micro-enterprises: Sustainable ‘good work’ or the precarious gig economy? | Seminar w Alice Owen, 28 Feb 2018
This seminar uses case studies of different forms of craft-microenterprises to suggest how and, perhaps, why micro-enterprises create more or less sustainable outcomes in terms of economic activity, community development, health and wellbeing and environmental impacts.
Green Finance | Alex White giving evidence to EAC, 16 January 2018
On 16 January 2018, CUSP research fellow Alex White gave evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee on their green finance inquiry. Based on our research with the Aldersgate Group, Alex White argued for the need to create an attractive low carbon investment environment in the UK if we are to see the real benefits of a growing green finance industry.
Prosperity on a finite planet | #CongresoFuturo2018 with Tim Jackson
CUSP Director Tim Jackson is joining the 7th Congreso Futuro in Chile. Set up by the Senate of Chile, with the aim to decentralize knowledge, the international 7 day event is considered to be the most important scientific dissemination event in Latin America.
Doughnut Economics | Lecture by Kate Raworth, 7 Feb 2018
Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the need of all within the means of the planet. Kate Raworth argues that last-century’s economic theories will in no way equip us for it. Instead, it’s time for some serious rethinking.
Cleaning up the economy: Business models of environmental social enterprises | Seminar w Ellen Stenslie, 24 Jan 2018
Environmentally motivated social enterprises (ESEs) sit at the heart of business model innovation for sustainability. Yet, empirical research within this field is lacking. Ellen Stenslie will present her latest research.
Could the investment system contribute to sustainable prosperity? | Blog by Charles Seaford
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.
The Social Effects of Global Trade | New book w chapter by Simon Mair, Angela Druckman and Tim Jackson
As part of a new compilation of groundbreaking work on social indicators, Simon Mair, Angela Druckman and Tim Jackson have contributed a chapter examining how globalisation since 1990 has shaped fairness in the Western European clothing supply chain.
Social Limits To Growth – Lessons for a post-crash economy | Blog by Caroline Lucas and Tim Jackson
On 13 November 2017, the APPG on Limits to Growth hosted an evening debate at the House of Commons, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the publication of Social Limits to Growth by Fred Hirsch. Caroline Lucas and Tim Jackson reflect on the continuing relevance of his ground-breaking work.
In Defence of Degrowth — A Comment by Simon Mair
The concept of 'degrowth' is politically infeasible, according to a recent article by Branko Milanović. In this blog, Simon Mair argues that ‘degrowth’ is no less unrealistic than the alternatives.
Climate Innovation Insights: Accelerating the transition to sustainable production systems | Edited by Geraldine Brennan
Edited by Geraldine Brennan, the second series of Climate Innovation Insights shares understanding of how to nurture and sustain cross-sector collaboration to scale up the circular economy and Accelerate the transition to sustainable production systems.
Why do we still worship at the altar of economic growth? | Blog by Donald Hirsch
Forty years ago, Fred Hirsch pointed to a crucial flaw in the emphasis on growth as a central objective in western economies. His seminal book made the case that in addition to ecological limits, there are important social constraints at play. In this blog, his son Prof Donald Hirsch is arguing that these limitations became ever more relevant today.
BBC World Service | Tim Jackson in discussion w Annie Quick, Daniel Ben-Ami and Jared Bernstein
We are told again and again that GDP growth is good for the economy; it is said to lift people out of poverty, provides jobs and investment, and improves lives. While there is general agreement about the need for growth in the developing world, what about the costs of growth in the rich world?