April 17, 2018
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 ...
April 6, 2018
How should we understand the relationship between nature and society, now that we have entered that condition known as the Anthropocene? Two new books offer radically opposing views on this question—though, as Richard Douglas finds, both remain prisoners of post-Kantian metaphysics.
March 27, 2018
If the Anthropocene had an intellectual mixtape, The Ends of the World would be a worthy candidate, Jana Bacevic finds. The book presents perspectives on the end of the world beyond the Western-centric view, to include those for whom the world has already ended; providing valuable lessons.
March 18, 2018
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.
March 12, 2018
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?
March 5, 2018
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.
March 1, 2018
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 ...
February 16, 2018
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 ...
February 12, 2018
These are turbulent times, the fault lines within modern capitalism are widening. Yet, Will Davies finds, where one economic model becomes less certain, we can open up a much wider range of questions about what progress, prosperity and welfare actually mean: this is the right moment to interrogate the meaning and moral dimensions of prosperity.
February 9, 2018
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?
February 7, 2018
Sustainable infrastructure is key to the low-carbon transition, Michael Wilkins argues in this guest blog — it mitigates the effects of climate change and helps protect communities from its impact. Unlocking private finance for this will be vital.
February 7, 2018
What if geoengineering were envisaged as a utopian project of care? Oliver Morton’s The Planet Remade is a call for enlightened readership. It is an invitation to step up our thinking on the ethical questions around geoengineering.
January 9, 2018
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 ...
December 19, 2017
What can prosperity possibly mean in a world of environmental and social limits? This question lies at the heart of CUSP’s five year research programme on sustainable prosperity. We wanted to know how ordinary people in different contexts might answer this question, so we set out to ask them. What we found was fascinating.
December 15, 2017
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.
December 11, 2017
Early December 2017 Stoke-on-Trent was one of four cities not to win the title of UK City of Culture 2021. This may have been drowned out by the ongoing noise of European Capital of Culture uncertainty, but it was big news for Coventry who now follow Hull and Derry~Londonderry to hold the award. In ...
December 7, 2017
Christmas is the season of shallow critique, Jonathan Rowson finds. We lament the commercialisation around us as if it were a seasonal problem, but lurking inside the wrapped presents, juicy puddings and roasted birds there are deeper questions about ethical drift and the social logic of our entire economic model.
November 23, 2017
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.
November 23, 2017
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.
November 17, 2017
The latest documentary from D O’Neill and M Wayne highlights the barriers faced by working class actors attempting to pursue cultural work. The film exposes the fraudulence behind some of the central tenets of neoliberal meritocracy, Anthony Killick finds, particularly the idea that arts and cultural jobs are equally accessible to all on a “level ...
November 13, 2017
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 ...
November 5, 2017
George Monbiot has produced an encouraging manifesto for political transition to a happier, more sustainable world. Yet, Richard Douglas finds, his vision of the good life is undermined by an unresolved tension surrounding ideas of individualism.
October 19, 2017
We need a more conscious society, CUSP fellow Jonathan Rowson finds, and work “towards a level of depth, insight and abstraction that connects human nature and experience with societal meaning and purpose”—in the context, he writes, of a shared curiosity towards reality as a whole.
October 18, 2017
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 ...
October 3, 2017
The people who make our clothes are paid very low wages. We instinctively feel that this is unfair, but it can be hard to articulate why this is. Even harder, is saying what can be done about it. Summarising his recent journal article with Tim Jackson and Angela Druckman, Simon Mair uses the living wage ...
October 3, 2017
As the full extent of the damages from recent natural disasters are calculated across the Caribbean and the Southern United States and Lloyds of London begins paying out $4.5bn of claims, there is a stronger argument than ever to invest in natural capital as a way of improving resilience, Alex White finds.
September 29, 2017
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.
September 28, 2017
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.
September 21, 2017
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.
September 13, 2017
The question of whether it is possible to live better by consuming less is a central one for CUSP. In order to answer this we need a rich understanding of the meanings that ‘stuff’ has in our lives. In this research log, Kate Burningham and colleagues offer insights into their analytical work in progress, summarising ...
August 15, 2017
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.
August 4, 2017
One of the achievements of the recent Taylor review has been to breathe new life into the UK debate on good work. Going forward, this debate has to consider work in its wider social context, Simon Mair and Agni Dikaiou find; we have to think about Good Work not just as end in itself, but as ...
August 2, 2017
Robeyns’ CUSP essay opens an interesting space for reconsidering what should be of public and of private concern, Emilia Melville finds. Collective action as part of the solution can be effective if it can take place at multiple scales, and if it can nurture the love of place as well as a sense of global ...
July 25, 2017
Sustainable prosperity is underpinned by the principle that value creation and increased quality of life can both be decoupled from resource use – making the circular economy a key aspect. In this blog, CUSP research fellow Geraldine Brennan summarises some of her recent findings.
July 24, 2017
Dematerialisation of the economy – more value from each unit of ‘stuff’ – is a well-established trend in developed countries. Can food retailers and their supply chains accelerate this trend, CUSP co-investogator Charles Seaford asks, or will government have to intervene?
July 19, 2017
Stoke-On-Trent has set itself an ambitious task with its bid for UK City of Culture 2021. Should it be awarded the promising title then it will face a number of competing priorities and tensions, Jonathan Ward comments on the recent shortlisting, and the city should take it seriously.
July 17, 2017
The recently published climate risk recommendations by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) have been met with high-level and cross-sectoral buy in. The UK government should take note, Alex White argues, and ensure to develop national reporting requirements in line with these best practices.
June 27, 2017
Solutions to climate change require good ol’ politics, Jana Bacevic argues. The attempt to avoid dealing with human(-made) Others is the key unresolved issue in an otherwise nice blend of theoretical conversation and science fiction that is Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble.
June 21, 2017
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.
June 16, 2017
In the second part of his essay on ‘Imagining a world beyond consumerism’ Jonathan Rowson is challenging the extraordinary tenacity of consumerism and alighting on the idea that in order to go beyond consumerism it might be necessary to improve what German Philosopher Metzinger calls “the present cognitive and emotional abilities of our species”.
June 11, 2017
When economies stop growing they go into crisis, yet it seems impossible for them to grow forever without causing ecological catastrophe. Tim Jackson joins Matthew Taylor on RSA Radio to talk about the about this big challenge and the impact of Prosperity without Growth – recently updated and expanded in a second edition.
May 31, 2017
Timothy Morton cares about the humans and things with which he co-exists, and doesn’t want to see them destroyed. But reading Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World, Will Davies finds, it’s not entirely clear why. His version of environmental ethics is rather disquieting.
May 20, 2017
The new government will need to have an ambitious and stable low carbon policy at the heart of its project to support the UK’s competitiveness and deliver export opportunities for its businesses, argues Nick Molho, CUSP co-investigator and executive director of the Aldersgate Group.
May 16, 2017
The Breakthrough Institute asserts that ecomodernism can give us a “Good Anthropocene”. But in aiming at a second naivete of progressive modernism, it mistakenly treats nature as though it were a human creation.
May 8, 2017
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.
May 8, 2017
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 ...
April 28, 2017
As part of its involvement in CUSP, the Aldersgate Group is launching a one-year project to understand how to increase private investment in green infrastructure. In her blog, project lead Alex White explains how we will be looking at the most material barriers and considering the solutions to incentivise greater investment in the projects that ...
April 27, 2017
Consumerism is deeply problematic, but despite its obvious limitations, harms and absurdities, it is remarkably difficult to displace as our default societal setting and plot. Consumerism has become our prevailing cultural and economic modus operandi and is fundamentally more logical than it might at first appear.
March 29, 2017
Adventures in the Anthropocene—the fourth book discussed in the Anthropocene Reading Group—stands out from the others as the first that might be taken to the beach. Gaia Vince’s intrepid reportage has won her generous reviews. Yet, the journalistic and scientific objectivity—the twin lenses of her investigation—comes at a price, Robert Butler finds.
March 29, 2017
Bellamy Foster’s essay is to be warmly welcomed for putting the question of what constitutes ‘good work’ on the table. But by arguing – at least in parts – that good work looks like creative or artistic work, it risks perpetuating certain ideas about artistic production that will harm, rather than aid, the struggle for ...
March 23, 2017
Documentary photographer and CUSP fellow Kerstin Hacker is investigating the developing consumer culture of Lusaka (Zambia) and examines photographically the emergence of a new cultural sector. Her project is set out to enable artists to participate meaningfully in the debate around sustainability and prosperity of the sector and the country as whole. In this blog ...
March 19, 2017
John Bellamy Foster is right that we mustn’t abandon the project of pursuing non-alienating work, nor simply see work as a disutility. Yet, there is clearly space for articulating the importance of reduced, reproductive and redistributed work, Nick Taylor finds, and systems of social security that support these circumstances, as part of efforts to deliver ...
March 18, 2017
This blog is a transcript of Mike’s contribution to the conference Sustainability in Turbulent Times on 16 March 2016, reflecting on the implications of recent swings towards populism and nationalism around the world, for the relationship between inequality, democracy and sustainability.
March 13, 2017
We are rarely encouraged to think of ourselves as good ancestors, but that’s what we need to become. After all, we represent the past the future relies on to have a viable present. If the idea of Utopia invites us to imagine the future, Jonathan Rowson argues, it is up to us to make a ...
March 3, 2017
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.
March 3, 2017
Roger Scruton’s paper usefully enlarges the scope of our discussions in CUSP, bringing a wider range of concepts to bear on the question of “sustainable prosperity”. However despite this wide scope, Victor Anderson argues, there is inherent in his arguments a philosophical justification for nimbyism.
March 3, 2017
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.
February 21, 2017
For most of us—wherever we are in the world—work is a central component of our lives. Any Great Transition narrative wanting to connect with people has to address issues of work. How do we reorient the economy so that its values reflect our values rather than profit?
February 20, 2017
Who is clearing up the ‘mess’ at ‘home’? A feminist response to Roger Scruton | by Malaika Cunningham
Scruton’s understanding of home or ‘oikophilia’ overlooks the patriarchal norms which govern these institutions, Malaika Cunningham argues in her response, this undermines his own argument against doctrines and ‘top-down’ structures.
February 15, 2017
Conservative thinking offers various necessary ingredients for any serious reflection on the meaning of ‘sustainable prosperity’. Yet, the relationship between sustainable prosperity and conservatism is a paradoxical one, Will Davies argues in his reply to Roger Scruton’s recent essay for CUSP.
February 9, 2017
The great humanistic emancipatory projects of the 20th century have run into the sand, leaving a non-humanistic one running riot: the Carbon Liberation Front. The rapid liberation of carbon molecules into the earth’s atmosphere is the dominant political programme of the 21st century, and neither state socialism nor capitalism provide any adequate response, it seems.
January 25, 2017
At CUSP we’re looking at sustainable finance from various angles. By combining transdisciplinary perspectives, we aim to provide a richer understanding of investment and shed light on issues that have hampered the development of a green economy and more sustainable forms of prosperity.
January 23, 2017
Academics must be conscious of the impact they create, Aled Jones and Alison Greig argue in their commentary, “even if that impact is unintentional. We must take responsibility for the action, or lack thereof, from the knowledge that we disseminate.”
January 17, 2017
Ecological Economist Federico Demaria was one of the panellist at our recent House of Commons debate on ‘Degrowth’ as an international movement gaining traction. Here’s his report on the challenges and tasks ahead.
January 17, 2017
What if we have known about our unsustainable destruction of the environment for a long time? Might we learn from our history of conscious ruin, and see more lucidly which institutions, social relations and modes of thought have perpetuated it?
January 16, 2017
Climate change is not an easy subject for politicians – they have to turn scientific consensus about the need for action into a workable agenda that can win people’s support. But how do politicians go about this? In this blog, CUSP fellow Rebecca Willis summarises her research findings.
January 11, 2017
Citizenship is not so undifferentiated as Melissa Lane’s paper makes out, Victor Anderson finds, and is every bit as diverse in the particular duties it implies. Professionalism matters, yes – but being a good citizen matters even more.
January 8, 2017
Environmental ethics cannot simply focus on the macro and the micro-levels of decision-making, Will Davies writes, when the sociology of contemporary capitalism compels us to consider the ethical commitments of institutions and authorities that operate between the two.
January 1, 2017
Paul Raskin’s Journey to Earthland is a thought-provoking essay that delivers an imaginative, compelling critique of societal problems, culminating in an ambitious description of a global eco-utopia.
December 19, 2016
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, Tim Jackson argues, 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.
December 16, 2016
Mind over matter: is scarcity as much about psychology as it is economics? | Guest blog by Dan Nixon
“Unlimited wants, scarce resources”– this is the economic problem, Dan Nixon finds. But once basic needs are met, how much should scarcity – having “enough” – be understood as a psychological problem? And what would it mean for how economics is taught?
December 9, 2016
“When an idea is sketched on a page, it can be examined and discussed much more easily than when it merely exists in people’s heads.” In this blog, CUSP Fellow James McKay introduces his recent project: A dream of a low carbon future.
December 7, 2016
Jedediah Purdy’s history of the idea of nature in American thought provides an instructive context for contemporary environmental debate, Richard Douglas finds, but its idea of democracy founders on the absence of a vision of humanity’s purpose in a post-growth world.
December 6, 2016
In this blog, Research Fellow Craig Rye introduces a set of novel analysis techniques, drawn from ecology and physics, to better understand the changing behaviour of recessions and the business cycle (recession cycle) in historical GDP datasets.
August 30, 2016
Barclay’s prosperity map has a very limited view of prosperity, focused almost entirely on financial wealth. Yet media reports have been entirely uncritical. We argue that this shows the power and dangers of measuring prosperity.
August 27, 2016
Our lifestyle today is widely considered to be the dominant influence on climate and the environment. The recognition of the Anthropocene as a new era calls for a new approach to politics, Marit Hammond argues; and the arts could play a key role.
July 20, 2016
The Agenda 2030 forms an ambitious set of long-run goals. Yet, for those most affected, the year 2030 seems like a very long time in the future. How can we make the most of it and involve kids in the SDGs task, Sue Venn asks, reflecting on her participation at a recent Global Goals conference ...
June 2, 2016
In order to find out what is sustainable, we need some understanding of what Earth’s limits actually are. The fairly new field of Earth System Science aims to provide the relevant information here, and this book by Tim Lenton is an introduction to its key aspects.
May 30, 2016
Small and medium sized enterprises are a dominant part of the global economy but get less attention than larger corporates in discussions about environmental issues. This opens up a fascinating debate, Fergus Lyon finds, about their role both within the ‘green growth’ agenda and the vision for ‘post-growth’ or steady state economics.
May 10, 2016
Meaningful responses to climate change require social change, but can we take the measures needed and still keep voters happy? In this blog, Charles Seaford is introducing some numbers to help exploring the dimensions of a politically feasible sustainability.
April 27, 2016
The recently adopted SDGs are an important set of long-run goals, and have the prestige and legitimacy of the United Nations. But what can they actually do for the UK? Victor Anderson’s thoughts on the first UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development workshop on Monday 25 April.
April 26, 2016
In this blog Angela Druckman explains how CUSP is collating visions of the future, and exploring which types of economic systems may make the achievement of sustainable prosperity more plausible.
April 19, 2016
To coincide with the launch of a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Limits to Growth, Tim Jackson discusses the continuing relevance of the Club of Rome’s groundbreaking report in today’s context and introduces Limits Revisited, a new review of the debate, co-written with environmental writer Robin Webster.
April 13, 2016
What does the ‘good life’ actually mean to people and how are their visions and aspirations informed by aspects of their social, economic and environmental situation? In this blog, co-investigator Kate Burningham explains how CUSP is approaching research into the social and psychological understandings of the good life.
April 12, 2016
In this blog, CUSP deputy director Prof Fergus Lyon is looking at the concept of Gross National Happiness as explored by The Kingdom of Bhutan, discussing its practical implications for socio-economic development and alternative enterprises.
April 5, 2016
A shift towards a sustainable prosperity must ultimately be a shift in values, and needs to be understood as such, co-investigator Dr Will Davies writes in this blog, setting out the work programme for our research theme on the meaning and moral framing of the good life.
March 31, 2016
Arts are communicators of a message, but are an element of sustainable prosperity itself, too, co-investigator Prof Kate Oakley writes in this blog, explaining her research approach to understanding the role of the arts and culture in developing visions for a sustainable prosperity.
March 28, 2016
A transformation of our political discourse and practice will be necessary to achieve a Sustainable Prosperity, co-investigator Dr Philip Catney writes in this blog, introducing his research perspective on our projects exploring the political and organisational dimensions of sustainable prosperity.
March 22, 2016
In the second blog of our series, CUSP deputy director Prof Fergus Lyon introduces the agenda of our research projects on alternative forms of businesses and social enterprises.
February 18, 2016
In the first blog of our new series, CUSP director Prof Tim Jackson explores the nature of prosperity and the challenge of achieving sustainable prosperity, introducing the CUSP work programme.