Economics, Finance, Governance, and Ethics for the Anthropocene, a working paper of the Capital Institute-housed Third Millennium Economy project, was released last Thursday for public review in advance of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. As the civil society groups and grassroots activists meet now and world leaders arrive later this week, the paper is a flag in the ground that offers a new vision for addressing our global ecological crisis. Our report, written with a team of leading scholars, lays out many of the challenges posed by the unjust economics that have lead us into ecological overshoot and delineates a number of leverage points for change.
We’d like to call our Capital Institute community’s attention to four not-to-be missed events upcoming this spring. “Degrowth in the Americas,” to be held in Montreal from May 13 to 19 will focus on what degrowth means for our Hemisphere. BALLE’s “Prosperty Starts Here,” to be held in Grand Rapids from May 15 to 19, is the organization’s annual gathering of local economy entrepreneurs and visionaries. On Earth Day Slow Money NYC will showcase five pioneering food entreprenuers from the lower Hudson Valley of New York in Pocantico Hills, NY. Capital Institute Founder and President John Fullerton will be a speaker at the Degrowth and BALLE conferences. The Public Banking Institute is hosting its inaugural Public Banking Conference in America in Philadelphia April 27 and 28, taking a look at public banking success stories and the hidden costs of our current banking system.
Peter Victor–eminent ecological economist, winner of the Canadian Council for the Arts' prestigious Molson Award, and author of Managing Without Growth–challenges us to reframe our economic discussions to focus on managing material and energy flows rather than GDP growth.
CASSE Issues Enough is Enough: Ideas for a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources - A Report from the First Steady State Economy Conference
The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) held its first conference, in Leeds, UK, on June 19, 2010, with a focus on finding alternatives to current models of economic growth. Featuring members of the Capital Lab-sponsored 3rd Millennium Economy steering committee Tim Jackson and Peter Victor, the conference brought economists, scientists, business leaders, government officials and the NGO community together to help mold the vision of a steady state economy.
While most global leaders and economists extol the virtues of unfettered economic growth, conference speakers made the point that the economy is a subsystem of the earth’s ecosystem and is a human construct. Despite these known facts and the recent global financial meltdown, exponential economic growth continues to be almost universally perceived as a desirable outcome.
Many members of the Capital Institute community believe that the emerging markets for ecosystem services hold considerable promise as tools for redirecting the flow of capital toward economic activities that honor ecosystem constraints. However, a paper that recently circulated among us entitled "The Environmentality of 'Earth Incorporated'" raised some questions that challenge that belief. The author, Sian Sullivan, argues that the “intrinsic fallacy at the heart” of ecosystem services market initiatives is that they attempt to incentivize environmentally ethical behavior. She maintains that the market does not produce “virtuous behavior” and that it is essentially naïve to take the view that if only we design them correctly we can halt or reverse ecosystem degradation. She further states that the danger of these market initiatives is that they promote the “valuing of nature as money,” and do not acknowledge “nature's immanence or sentience,” or the reality that humans are merely one of many “companions” in nature’s community. Sullivan’s argument might lead one to conclude that efforts to save our fragile ecosystems should be focused more on shifting humanity’s view of its place in the natural order rather than harnessing the financial markets to restore that natural order.
Third Millennium Economy