With a team of over 50 people, CUSP is a busy research centre, engaged in a variety of projects. We produce working papers, journal articles, blogs and public events, we respond to government enquiries, commission essays, and contribute to the publication of books. CUSP is also involved in numerous research cooperations with other institutions. On this page you’ll find updates from the various engagements of the centre. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive a regular digest in your inbox.
The 2018 Post-Growth conference at the European Parliament marked a milestone in the history of the post-growth debate. In this interview, Riccardo Mastini discusses the possibilities and challenges for imagining a world beyond growth with two key post-growth thinkers—Tim Jackson and Giorgos Kallis.
Fergus Lyon leading a conference stream at the 2019 International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC) in Glasgow. The conference organisers invite abstracts for papers and panel proposals—closing date for submissions: 28 Feb 2019.
Small and medium-sized enterprises face many competing pressures—so how can we encourage owners and managers to engage with the issue, and re-position their businesses for a lower carbon future? Join us at this lunchtime webinar for practical advice on communicating more effectively with (and within) SMEs. The webinar is part of the ESRC Growing Greener project, co-led by CUSP Fellow Richard Blundel, with advisory support from CUSP Deputy Director Fergus Lyon.
CUSP researchers are leading a team from the University of Surrey and the University of Loughborough to map links between energy and productivity in the UK. We are looking to recruit a research assistant to review the existing literature on energy and productivity in a UK context.
The Circular Economy Package and Plastics Strategy have set a high-level framework to improve the resource efficiency of the European economy. But to be effective, this framework must remain a policy priority for the next European Commission and Parliament, argues Nick Molho.
In Autumn 2018, CUSP Director Tim Jackson responded to an essay by Michael Liebreich, sparking a month-long debate on social media. BBC Business Daily brought Tim and Michael together to discuss the ‘burning question’ face-to-face: Is eternal economic growth feasible (and desirable) on a finite planet?
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.
The hypothesis Richard Douglas is investigating in his CUSP research is that political resistance to environmentalism stems in part from a defence of modern ideas of infinity. The notion that there are inescapable limits to material progress, he argues, threatens the modern faith in humanity’s ability to control its own fate and journey into an unbounded future.
Revised second edition of Peter Victor’s influential book. Human economies are overwhelming the regenerative capacity of the planet, this book explains why long-term economic growth is infeasible, and why, especially in advanced economies, it is also undesirable. Simulations developed with Tim Jackson, show that managing without growth is a better alternative.
In this paper, Simon Mair, Angela Druckman and Tim Jackson explore how paying a living wage in global supply chains might affect employment and carbon emissions: Sustainable Development Goals 8 and 13.
Delivering an effective investment industry has been largely delegated by politicians to regulatory bodies, on the assumption that the measures needed have little relevance to wider social and economic issues. Charles Seaford argues that this assumption is false, and that politicians could usefully consider what may have been seen as purely technocratic issues.
Institutions for transformative innovation need to improve the capacities of complex societies to make binding decisions in politically contested fields, a new journal paper by CUSP researcher Daniel Hausknost and his colleague Willi Haas argues, proposing the design of novel institutions that integrate expert knowledge with processes of public deliberation and democratic decision-making.
Regardless of the established limitations of rendering social phenomenon reliably knowable through measurement, the institutional excitement surrounding social impact is considered to rest upon the capacity to measure and assess its progress. To better understand how social impact can be reliably known, Pablo Munoz and his colleagues study how actors in a pre-rationalized industry understand social impact, and deal with the arrival of measures for social impact.
Access to cheap and widely available fossil fuels powered global economic growth for over 250 years. However, the last decade has seen a slowdown in the global economy – and people (governments, economists) are looking for answers. Labour productivity is seen as a prime candidate. But are we looking in the wrong place?
On 24th January, CUSP and the GSI are hosting a workshop on systems dynamics. This will include a presentation by Prof. Jørgen Randers on his new Earth4 global model. The workshop will explore challenges in global and regional systems dynamic modelling of economic, social and environmental systems and in particular we will be looking at some of the challenges encountered in building Earth4.
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.
Though the creative economy remains a powerful idea in policy circles, concerns about inequality, worker exploitation and the promotion of over-consumption have begun to grow. This one-day workshop looks at some of these concerns, but also at the potential for arts and culture to help us think through these issues and re-frame a more sustainable and human creative economy.
This conference aims to explore from a multidisciplinary perspective the role of risk and uncertainty in the Anthropocene. It invites papers that explore the specific logics, strategies, forms of knowledge and technologies that different actors are, or should be, using to approach risk and uncertainty.
How does one determine which of the many strategies associated with circular economy are appropriate to pursue? In this chapter Fenna Blomsma and Geraldine Brennan apply systems thinking to outline four steps that aid in identifying where and why waste is being generated in the current system, and what the available circular strategies are.
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. Following our opening on 7 November 2018 as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, the exhibition is on show until the end of January.
We’re delighted to announce that the video coverage from our recent Nature of Prosperity debate is now online. Around the same time we held the second in our series of policy briefings for parliamentarians on the theme of building An Economy that Works, focusing this time on confronting inequality in an era of low growth. A fascinating development over recent weeks has been an increasingly robust online debate between proponents of green growth and those with a more sceptical ‘post-growth’ position. Interesting to see how this debate is bridging some traditional left-right divides.
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.
Our systematic failure to address existential anxiety robs society of meaning and blinds us to the suffering of others; to persistent poverty; to the extinction of species; to the health of global ecosystems. With this think piece, Tim Jackson adds to an eclectic set of essays, published in honour of Wolfgang Sachs.
With so much attention focused on what agreements come out of COP24, protesters should be seizing the initiative to attack the root causes of climate change, CUSP PhD researcher Christine Corlet-Walker finds. (This blog first appeared on The Conversation, 30 Nov 2018).
Richard Douglas introduces his new CUSP working paper, in which he uses ‘Listening Rhetoric’ to attend to the moral vision which environmental sceptics are keen to defend. The key to understanding their rejection of environmentalism—and doing more to counter the appeal of their arguments—lies in recognising their preoccupation with defending a moral vision of modernity, he argues.
It is nearly half a century since the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth report was published. The thesis at its core—that infinite growth is impossible on a finite planet—is a seemingly common sensical proposition. To investigate why the ‘limits to growth’ has not yet led to decisive political action, this paper examines the thought of its most explicit critics in debate, employing Wayne Booth’s ‘Listening Rhetoric’, used to understand opposing discourses on their own terms.
As the subprime financial crisis erupted in 2008, Wall Street analysts started talking of the Minsky Moment. Widely ignored by mainstream economists until then, Minsky’s financial instability hypothesis became enormously popular. In his CUSP lecture, Marc Lavoie will outline the main features of this work and discusses whether Minsky was part of the a post-Keynesian school of thought, or not.
Prof Tim Foxon will present insights for a transition to a sustainable low carbon energy future that can be drawn from a study of the role of energy technologies in historical waves of industrial change, published in his recent book Energy and Economic Growth (2017).
XR is a rather potent campaign, CUSP researchers Joost de Moor, Brian Doherty and their colleague Graeme Hayes find, yet creating a movement that can have the impact XR aims for will require confronting the political as well as the moral challenges posed by climate change. (This blog first appeared on the openDemocracy website, 27 Nov 2018).
The European Union is struggling. One-sided fixation on growth, competitiveness, deregulation and export-orientation have led Europe into deep crisis. The need for climate change mitigation, environmental protection and tackling inequality now present ever bigger challenges to the EU. Starting from a historical perspective, this CUSP paper argues, that post-growth concepts have an enormous potential to re-constitute Europe.
CUSP researchers Kate Oakley and Jonathan Ward are guest editors of a special edition of Cultural Trends. In exploring how the idea of the creative economy persists since the 1980s, papers engage with the topic on a social, political, economic and/or organisational level.
Cultural resistance to the need for a fundamental rethink of the way we conduct life is continuously fed by misleading words of charismatic thinkers such as Rutger Bregman and Steven Pinker, Teresa Belton finds. What we need instead are fresh holistic narratives to create a new common consciousness.
A new report by former SLRG colleagues Steve Sorrell, and CUSP researchers Brigitta Gatersleben and Angela Druckman examines the nature of rebound effects, and asks the question: can greater use of sufficiency policies and actions help to tackle negative rebounds, or will it create rebounds itself?
Rethinking our economic paradigms is an urgent and fundamentally important task. Giorgos Kallis’ new book Degrowth is adding to a joint endeavour of postgrowth thinking, CUSP PhD candidate Sarah Hafner finds. It offers both, a justification as well as a vision and new imaginary for the degrowth agenda.
In each city small groups of young people, aged from 12–24, took photos or drew pictures to illustrate ‘a day in our lives’ and then discussed their images with us, focusing on what they valued and what they would like to change. A CYCLES photo exhibition is on show at The Foundry, in Vauxhall, London (until January 2019). These are their images. This is their story.
This paper explores the potential of ‘new nature writing’ – a literary genre currently popular in the UK – as a kind of arts activism, in particular, how it might engage with the environmental crisis and lead to a kind of collective politics.
The Entropy Law still matters. CUSP director Tim Jackson responds to Michael Liebreich’s essay on the ‘The secret of eternal growth’.
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).
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.