Beyond Uneconomic Growth
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Beyond Uneconomic Growth

Economics, Equity and the Ecological Predicament

Edited by Joshua Farley and Deepak Malghan

This engaging book brings together leading ecological economists to collectively present a definitive case for looking beyond economic growth as the sole panacea for the world’s ecological predicament. Grounded in physics, ecology, and the science of human behavior, contributors show how economic growth itself has become “uneconomic” and adds to a ravaging of both social and ecological cohesion.
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Chapter 7: Denying Herman Daly: why conventional economists will not embrace the Daly vision

William E. Rees


This chapter contrasts key elements of the dominant neoliberal free market brand of economics with Herman Daly’s steady-state ecological economics and provides a partial explanation of why the world prefers the former to the latter. To those who rigorously compare the two visions, there is little question that the Daly brand is more rational and better grounded in reality. Yet in half a century it has gained little traction in the minds of the public and policy makers alike. This is no mere academic dispute. If pervasive influence is the measure, traditional neoliberal economists may well be the most universally acclaimed of performers on the global economic stage. Nevertheless, my starting premise is that for all the seeming elegance of their analyses, neoliberal economists are little better than master illusionists. The audience will therefore be excused for feeling betrayed – or merely silly – if the stage is left empty when the magician’s mist of abstract equations has finally dissipated on the evening air. Neoliberal economists should take no special offence at having their sleight-of-hand exposed.

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