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On this page you find news and updates from across our work programme. Our research themes are drawn together through collaboration and cross-cutting projects, such as An Economy That Works, Investing In the Future, and our work as secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Limits to Growth. For a full list of publications, please see our Publications page.

Chasing Progress | CUSP Newsletter April 2018
Fifty years after Bobby Kennedy’s speech highlighting the limitations of the GDP as a measure of progress, it’s appropriate in this issue to highlight our new working paper outlining a different way of measuring economic welfare – based on ideas from the theory of change literature. A second recent working paper confronts the thorny question of inequality in the face of declining growth rates and explores the potential for (and limits of) redistributive policy options such as the basic income...
Vacancy: CUSP Administrative Assistant (part-time)
We are looking for an empathetic, professional and highly-organised individual to support the coordination of the ESRC-funded Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), part-time. Closing date for application:15 May 2018
The People’s Projects | Feral Spaces Project shortlisted for Public Voting
The arts and learning project ‘Feral Spaces’ by CUSP Fellow Laurel Gallagher is shortlisted for public voting. The voting is open from 16-30 April. If successful, the Feral Spaces group will provide art activities for young people, using disused local spaces and recycled materials, to promote appreciation of the local environment.
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.
The Politics of Enclaves: Launch of Economic Science Fictions | London, 2 May 2018
Economic Science Fictions is a new volume of essays exploring the overlap between the economic imagination and science fiction, in economics, fiction, design fiction and utopian (and dystopian) political economy. To celebrate the publication of the book, this event will explore the politics of enclaves from the perspective of urban design and science fiction, so as to cast different light on the anxieties and hopes of the present.
Economic Science Fictions | Edited by Will Davies
From the libertarian economics of Ayn Rand to Aldous Huxley’s consumerist dystopias, economics and science fiction have often orbited each other. In Economic Science Fictions, CUSP co-investigator Will Davies has deliberately merged the two worlds, asking how we might harness the power of the utopian imagination to revitalise economic thinking.
‘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.
CUSP Newsletter | March 2018
This edition links to the videos from our Nature of Prosperity event on 16 Feb. You'll find our new green finance report, the culmination of our year long study with the Aldersgate Group, which sets out 30 clear policy recommendations to increase the rate of green finance in the UK. In July, we will be holding a workshop on Economics for the Anthropocene and are inviting papers. We’re also looking for people to take part in our study of work in the cultural sector.
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.
Complexity in the global agricultural system | Roberto Pasqualino presenting his latest CUSP/GSI work at Agri World 2018
The complexity of the global agricultural system is a tremendous barrier to the understanding of the impact that policies and business decisions may have on society at both global and national levels. CUSP research fellow Roberto Pasqualino will be presenting the latest work on his world system computer model, testing both climate and policy shocks to assess their possible outcomes and risks in the medium to long term future.
Writing A Better Future | Guest Blog by Denise Baden
Most of us feel it: the future doesn't look too bright. Dark future visions such as the Black Mirror series feed into our anxieties; the global news and climate change discourse create further avoidance. What we need, Denise Baden argues, are positive visions that allow transformative solutions to be showcased and played out—a kind of product placement for sustainability.
Survey: Green investment & Decisions
As part of our System Dynamics work stream, CUSP researcher Sarah Hafner has set up an online survey for investment practitioners to help inform her work on modelling investment decision in a system dynamics framework.
Economic Theory for the Anthropocene—Towards Heterodox Understandings of Sustainable Economies
CUSP and the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Surrey are pleased to announce a call for contributions to a free, one and a half day workshop for researchers to share and discuss their early stage work in heterodox economics. We are inviting contributions that explore heterodox theories of the economy and how they could help us transition to sustainable societies.
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.
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
Nature of Prosperity Dialogue: Ethics and Utopias | London, 16 February 2018
CUSP and the William Morris Society are delighted to invite you to a joint symposium on the Nature of Prosperity. The event will offer an afternoon of philosophical conversations on the themes of ethics and Utopian thinking, and how they can inform concepts of sustainable prosperity.
Nature On The Page — Wildlines @ The Leeds Library w Kate Oakley, 15 Mar 2018
On 15 March 2018, CUSP researcher Kate Oakley will be joining an expert panel of writers and naturalists to explore the process of putting our experience of the natural world down on paper. Who gets to write about nature, and why? Is there a place for politics in nature writing? Does the north have the nature-writing it deserves? And why does nature writing matter?
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.
The art of the good life: culture and sustainable prosperity | Journal paper by Kate Oakley and Jon Ward
This paper analyses the potential for cultural work to encourage alternative visions of the “good life”, in particular, how it might encourage a kind of “sustainable prosperity” wherein human flourishing is not linked to high levels of material consumption but rather the capabilities to engage with cultural and creative practices and communities.
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.
Closing the Gaps Between Finance and Sustainability | FINEXUS conference w Sarah Hafner and Roberto Pasqualino
This three-day conference bridges academic research, industry and policy expertise. Practitioner sessions present success stories from leading experts and discuss how the insights from research could help to address the challenges faced by the financial industry and by policy makers.
Finance in the Anthropocene | Blog by Nick Taylor
Risk is our society’s dominant way of governing the future in order to tame uncertainty. This is the case not only for financial crises but also for our responses to global environmental crises. The dominant risk management approach focusses on the prospect of financial devaluation and instability induced by climate change. But the kinds of calculation that are ultimately most pressing relate to how we might consider the financial system as an ecological regime itself.
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.
The Anthropocene Reading Group 2017/18—Goldsmiths, London
Coordinated by Will Davies, Richard Douglas and Nick Taylor, the Anthropocene Reading Group is meeting regularly to discuss some of the latest literature in the field. The monthly meetings will take place on Wednesdays at 4pm.
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 Acting Class | Film screening and discussion, Leeds 6 Dec 2017
The Acting Class (77 mins) is a documentary feature film by Mike Wayne and Deirdre O’Neill that explores the causes and consequences of class stratification in the acting profession. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film makers.
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.
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.
Engaging the imagination | Journal paper by Kate Oakley, Jon Ward and Ian Christie
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.
Sustainable Consumption in Early Motherhood | Journal Paper by Kate Burningham and Sue Venn
In their new paper for the Journal of Consumer Ethics, Kate Burningham and Sue Venn suggest there is a need for greater attention to the gender and relational dimensions of environmentally sustainable practice, and for promotion of holistic discourses of sustainable consumption which align sustainable living with the maintenance of family life.
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.
World development within Planetary Boundaries | Lecture with Johan Rockström
The advent of the Anthropocene, the scientific recognition of the remarkably stable state of the Earth system during the Holocene Inter-glacial, the rising evidence of global risks of crossing Earth tipping points and the signs of a gradual decline in Earth resilience, constitute overwhelming evidence for the need of a deep mind-shift. In his lecture, Johan Rockström presents his science of sustainability.
Broken promises—the engine of consumerism | Blog by Tim Jackson
Does consumerism thrive on our discontentment? Tim Jackson argues yes, the success of consumer society lies not in meeting our needs but in its spectacular ability to repeatedly disappoint us. This may seem dark, but from here we can understand why consumerism must eventually fall – and how to replace it.
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.
World Accumulation and Planetary Life | Lecture by Jason W. Moore, 10 Oct
PERC/CUSP Lecture by Jason W. Moore on "World Accumulation and Planetary Life or Why Capitalism Will Not Survive until the ‘last tree is cut’". More details to follow shortly.
Social Limits to Growth—Implications for Sustainable Prosperity | APPG Evening Debate, 13 Nov 2017
This Autumn, CUSP and the APPG on Limits to Growth will be hosting a debate to mark the 40th Anniversary of Fred Hirsch’s ‘The Social Limits to Growth’. Join us for this timely House of Commons discussion on Hirsch’s challenging analysis and its relevance today.