Politics & Organisations 90 posts

Any discussion of sustainable prosperity must address the political and institutional dimensions of transition. We explore both the grand narratives of political legitimacy and also the implications of these narratives at the micro-level. Our work understands governance as the way in which rules and actions are produced, sustained and regulated. Our research then examines the challenge of governance in the face of constrained resources. At the micro-level, we explore grassroots initiatives for change. We work with enterprise and civil society to see how alternative ownership and incentive structures can deliver a more sustainable prosperity. For further details about our politics and institutions research stream, please have a look at our theme page.

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.
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.
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'.
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: measuring progress; redefining purpose — London, 24 Oct 2018
Confirmed speakers at our fourth Nature of Prosperity event include Kerry Kennedy, human rights lawyer and daughter of RFK, Clive Lewis, Shadow Treasury Minister, Miatta Fahnbulleh, Chief Executive at the New Economics Foundation, 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.
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.)
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.
How hard is it to score the seventeenth goal? | Blog by Victor Anderson
Partnerships are central to the achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but partners need to be proactive and willing. Summarising our recent contribution to the first comprehensive assessment of the UK’s performance against the SDGs, Victor Anderson explains why the UK’s progress has so far been limited as a result.
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’.
Exploring the natural capital debate—Creating a space for conversation about conservation across boundaries? | Blog by Fergus Lyon
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).
Rebound Mitigation — Environmental policy making in the context of rebound effects | Seminar w David F Vivanco, 19 July 2018
In this talk, David will introduce preliminary results of the Effective environmental policies in Europe in the context of rebound effects (EFFECT) project, which aims at developing an innovative analytical framework for capturing rebound effects.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
Policies for Sustainable Consumption | The Cambridge Handbook of Psychology and Economic Behaviour w chapter by Tim Jackson and Carmen Smith
Tim Jackson's chapter in The Cambridge Handbook of Psychology and Economic Behaviour has been updated for the second edition of the international, multi-disciplinary and partly new collection, edited by Alan Lewis. It summarises the challenge inherent in recent policy debates about sustainable consumption, focusing in particular on what might be involved in negotiating the kinds of lifestyle changes that are implied by the radical reductions in carbon emissions that are required to mitigate climate change.
Filling the finance gap for early stage green innovations | Blog by Fergus Lyon
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.
The role of government policy in financing early stage green innovation | Journal Paper by R Owen, G Brennan and F Lyon
This paper focuses on the role of the public sector in addressing finance gaps for longer-term investment requirements from seed investment through to early growth commercialisation of green innovation activities. Peer reviewed literature is identified from international studies, complemented by illustrative policy documents where evidence of impact is reported.
‘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.
Green Shoots from the Green Investment Bank, or a lost opportunity? | Blog by Fergus Lyon
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?
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.
There’s no political pressure to act on climate. So how are MPs responding? | Blog by Rebecca Willis
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?
Measuring up – how the UK is performing on the SDGs | CUSP leading research on Goal 17
CUSP working with UKSSD cross-sector network, developing first comprehensive assessment of the UK’s performance against the UN Sustainable Development Goals
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.
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.
Sustainable Prosperity and Democracy—A Research Agenda | Working Paper No 8
As environmental crises become ever more severe, calls for authoritarian solutions are reappearing: Democracy, so the argument goes, has proven to be too slow to respond to urgent threats. In this paper, Marit Hammond and Graham Smith respond to this charge by revisiting the role of democracy within a transition to sustainable prosperity.
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?
This new world—Reframing the distribution of rewards | Huffington Post Blog by Tim Jackson
Remember trickle-down theory? It’s the rose-tinted notion that economic growth is the only way to bring poor people out of poverty and reduce the inequality that divides society and undermines political solidarity. It’s not working and our choices are clear: Either we endure the rising instability and fractured politics of a deeply unequal world, or we build a new vision of a shared prosperity.
Innovation for wellbeing—social enterprises developing creative alternatives to conventional services | Blog by Fergus Lyon
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.