Politics & Organisations 70 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.

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.
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.
Who should pay for climate change damage? | Blog by John Vogler and Marit Hammond
To deliver climate justice we must focus on vulnerable people not countries, Marit Hammond and John Vogler write in this blog. As hurricanes engulf numerous countries at once, climate change powerfully illustrates the need for creative thinking about a truly global cosmopolitanism in which the avoidance of human suffering comes before self-interest. 
Local Action for Sustainable Prosperity | Seminar w Joan Walley, 19 Oct 2017
How, at a time of rising inequalities and austerity, can action for sustainable prosperity be galvanised at the local level? how do we create awareness amongst the public and their elected representatives of the environmental and social challenges facing us? Former MP of Stoke-on-Trent and chairwoman of the Aldersgate Group Joan Walley is sharing her insights.
Navigating social and commercial objectives in social enterprise | CUSP at ESRC Festival of Social Science
Social enterprises have to find ways of having a big social impact on people and the planet while also running a good business. How is this done, and how do you get over the tension between commercial and social objectives? In this ESRC Festival of Social Science workshop, we draw on our research to give those attending the tools to understand the tensions they face, and how they can find a way to navigate through this.
The future of jobs: is decent work for all a pipe dream? | Blog by Tim Jackson
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.
At the interface | Prof Fergus Lyon presenting CUSP research at #AOM2017
A growing number of businesses is interested in contributing to positive social and environmental change, yet face challenges in how they can assess their impacts meaningfully. This issue will be explored at the 77th Meeting of the Academy of Management in Atlanta, USA, with Fergus Lyon sharing CUSP research.
Climate Politics in Interesting Times | Workshop
CUSP researchers at the PSA Specialist Group Environmental Politics organising a research workshop on 15 September 2017, exploring the prospects, barriers, and new opportunities of climate governance.
Social enterprise for sustainable societies | 6th EMES conference w Fergus Lyon
CUSP Deputy Director Fergus Lyon will be introducing our research on the role of social enterprise in meeting the challenges of sustainable prosperity at the 6th EMES conference. His upcoming paper explores a set of key economic concepts that are challenged by social enterprise in practice, and sets out a topical research agenda that addresses a richer articulation of prosperity.
The social economy and sustainable prosperity | Blog by Ian Vickers
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.
Early stage investing into sustainable green SMEs | CUSP session at SME finance conference, 20 June
CUSP is hosting a green finance session with Fergus Lyon, Robyn Owen and Geraldine Brennan at Middlesex University and ISBE conference on SME Finance, 10 years after the crisis. This session will explore the needs of business and also identify different forms of public support for early stage finance found in the UK and around the world.
The Politics of Sustainable Prosperity | Research Workshop – Keele, 11 July 2017
In times of climate change, overconsumption, and ecological collapse, we must re-think the meaning of prosperity: What is needed are new visions of environmentally sustainable, yet still flourishing societies. This research workshop considers the political foundations of such societies.
Small Business Social Responsibility: A critical look at the ‘Creating Shared Value’ lens
The concept of 'Creating Shared Value' took the academic and business communities by storm. This approach to social responsibility is an uncomfortable fit for small businesses though, Laura Spence finds, and proposes instead 'the ethic of care' as a more productive way of understanding social responsibility in the small business context.
How to kick the growth addiction | Tim Jackson in conversation with Allen White
Endless economic growth, long the rallying cry of the conventional paradigm, endangers our future. Ecological economist Tim Jackson, CUSP Director and author of Prosperity Without Growth, explores the need to envision a post-growth economy with Allen White, Senior Fellow at the Tellus Institute.
The welfare state’s role in the transition to sustainable prosperity | Guest Blog by Dan Bailey
In his guest blog, Dan Bailey discusses the role and necessity of the welfare state in ensuring the democratic legitimacy of the transition to ‘sustainable prosperity’. He writes here about the welfare state in the context of prolonged austerity and the political revolts of the Trump vote and Brexit referendum, and in dialogue with different streams of work within CUSP.
Prosperity without Growth – Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow | By Tim Jackson
The publication of Prosperity without Growth was a landmark in the sustainability debate. This substantially revised and re-written edition updates its arguments and considerably expands upon them. Tim Jackson demonstrates that building a ‘post-growth’ economy is not Utopia - it's a precise, definable and meaningful task. It’s about taking simple steps towards an economics fit for purpose.
Circular Economy Business Models and Sustainable Prosperity | Seminar with Geraldine Brennan, 26 April
The circular economy concept has risen to prominence over the last decade, with some authors arguing that it could be a new paradigm for sustainability. This seminar will explore the contribution of circular economy business models to sustainable prosperity.
Inclusive and Sustainable Economies Powering the SDGs | Tim Jackson at international PAGE conference, Berlin
CUSP Director Prof Tim Jackson is joining the opening panel of the 2nd international ministerial conference of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), 26 March 2017, Berlin.
A Future Generations Commissioner for the UK | Evening debate with Peter Davies and Sándor Fülöp, 11 April
This event explored the potential to establish a UK-wide Commissioner for Future Generations. We heard from two speakers who have intimate knowledge of the work of Commissioners and Ombudsman around the world: Peter Davies and Sándor Fülöp. Provocations were then offered by Andrea Westall and Victor Anderson.
Sustainable Prosperity and the Cultural Industries | Seminar with Graeme Evans and Jon Ward, 22 March 2017
This joint seminar brings together CUSP researcher Jonathan Ward and Graeme Evans from the Art & Design Research Institute (ADRI), Middlesex University to discuss the role of the cultural industries in creating sustainable prosperity.
Brexit, devolution and the Sustainable Development Goals | Blog by Lauren Stabler
On 1st of March at the UKSSD Annual Conference: Unlocking the UK’s potential: from ambition to transformation, CUSP Co-investigator and GSI Director, Professor Aled Jones, ran a CUSP/Sustainability East breakout session on ‘Devolution, Brexit and the SDGs’. Lauren Stabler summarising the workshop.
Investing in the economy of tomorrow | Blog by Tim Jackson
Savings and investment represent a fundamentally prudential aspect of human behaviour. They embody a commitment to a shared future. In this blog, Tim Jackson looks at what tomorrow’s economy will be like and what role investment plays in it.