From Uneconomic Growth to a Steady-State Economy
Show Less

From Uneconomic Growth to a Steady-State Economy

Herman E. Daly

In this important book, Herman E. Daly lays bare the weaknesses of growth economics and explains why, in contrast, a steady-state economy is both necessary and desirable. Through the course of the book, Daly develops the basic concept and theory of a steady-state economy from the 1970s limits to growth debates. In doing so, he draws on work from the classical economists, through both conflicts and agreements with neo-classical and Keynesian economists, as well as recent debates on uneconomic growth.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 3: In defense of a steady-state economy

Herman E. Daly


The case against continuous exponential growth in the physical coordinates of our economy has already been made (Mill, 1961; Mishan, 1967; Boulding, 1970; Daly, 1971, 1973; Georgescu-Roegen, 1971; Weisskopf, 1971; Barclay and Seclar, 1972; The Ecologist, 1972; Ehrlich et al., 1972; Meadows et al., 1972), but has not yet won majority acceptance. Rather than repeat the arguments establishing the necessity and desirability of a steady-state economy, I will confine myself to a critique of a number of counter-arguments and objections that have been raised against the steady-state view by those who remain committed to the orthodox growth paradigm. What follows then is a kind of catechism of pro-growth fallacies, sophistries, casuistries, obfuscations, nonsequiturs, question-beggings, and misunderstandings, which, if properly refuted, should indirectly make the case for a steady-state economy. These misunderstandings are too numerous to catalog and arise mainly from the unhappy term ‘zero growth’, which many people interpret as implying an end to all technical and moral progress, an absolute, relative, and eternal static freeze. The verb ‘to grow’ has become so over-laden with positive value connotations that we have forgotten its first literal dictionary denotation, ‘to spring up and develop to maturity’. Thus, the very notion of growth includes some concept of maturity at which point physical accumulation gives way to a steady state. Thus, ‘steady state’ is a more descriptive term than ‘zero growth’, although both imply the essential cessation of gross physical accumulation.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.