Economics, Equity and the Ecological Predicament
Edited by Joshua Farley and Deepak Malghan
Chapter 12: The steady-state economy
Among Herman Daly’s many contributions to ecological economics none is likely to have a greater and more lasting significance than his analysis of and advocacy for a steady-state economy. As is typical of so much of his work, Professor Daly has been inspired by and built on the work of predecessors including most notably John Stuart Mill, Frederic Soddy and Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen. But he has also brought his own imagination and insights as well as his remarkable capacity for expressing complex ideas in simple terms. It is fair to say that he has virtually single-handedly ensured that the steady-state economy remains an alternative to be considered in discussions of the future possibilities for the economy and society. In this chapter we trace the main strands of the history of the steady-state economy. In summarizing the ideas of various writers we consider their definitions of a steady-state economy, noting what is to be held steady, the case they make for a steady-state economy and their proposals for policies and operational principles, to use Professor Daly’s phrase.
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