Innovations in Sustainable Consumption

Innovations in Sustainable Consumption

New Economics, Socio-technical Transitions and Social Practices

Advances in Ecological Economics series

Edited by Maurie J. Cohen, Halina Szejnwald Brown and Philip J. Vergragt

This timely volume recognizes that traditional policy approaches to reduce human impacts on the environment through technological change – for example, emphasizing resource efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources – are insufficient to meet the most pressing sustainability challenges of the twenty-first century. Instead, the editors and contributors argue that we must fundamentally reconfigure our lifestyles and social institutions if we are to make the transition toward a truly sustainable future.

Chapter 2: The macroeconomics of development without throughput growth

Jonathan M. Harris

Subjects: environment, ecological economics

Extract

Serious discussion has begun of policies to promote the goal of increasing well-being without material growth. The idea of a steady-state macroeconomics was introduced into the modern economics conversation by Herman Daly (see, for example, Daly, 1973, 1991a, 1991b). Daly built on the fundamental analyses of Georgescu-Roegen (1971), although, of course, the origins of the concept go back much further, at least to John Stewart Mill, with significant echoes in the work of John Kenneth Galbraith. In the growth model presented by Robert Solow (1970), economic growth theoretically converges to a steady-state rate of growth based on the rate of growth of the labor force and technological progress – but would reach an absolute steady state (with no economic growth) only if the rates of population growth and technological progress were both zero.

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