Neither economic growth nor economic recession are sustainable; therefore, the steady state economy remains the only sustainable prospect and the appropriate policy goal for the sake of sustainability. The CASSE position sets the record straight on the conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. Climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution are just three powerful examples. And how will the next generation find jobs when the planet can’t support our overgrown economy? The CASSE position calls for a desirable solution – a steady state economy with stabilized population and consumption – beginning in the wealthiest nations and not with extremist tactics. O. Wilson, Jane Goodall, and David Suzuki; fill in the information below to sign the position and support a healthy, sustainable economy.
Governments may also intervene in markets to promote general economic fairness. Government often try, through taxation and welfare programs, to reallocate financial resources from the wealthy to those that are most in need. Other examples of market intervention for socio-economic reasons include employment laws to protect certain segments of the population and the regulation of the manufacture of certain products to ensure the health and well-being of consumers. For example, key differences in the division of labor separate the two economic models. In free markets, workers are hired on the basis of supply and demand – the more a product or service is in demand by consumers, the more workers are essential.
In contrast, in a command economy, labor is assigned not by consumer demand, but by government intervention, to ensure citizens have a job whether a business or industry needs that worker or not. The scope of the European Union has also revealed some of the difficulties of regional projects, with member states sometimes wishing to ‘opt out’ of certain areas when they are not in agreement with regional plans – such as adopting the euro currency. An extreme instance of this can be seen in the British vote to leave the European Union in the 2016 ‘Brexit’ referendum. In a wider sense, negotiation rounds for global trade deals, as opposed to regional ones, have stalled and protectionist behaviour for whole industrial sectors has been on the rise. Although tariffs are in unprecedented low levels globally, it has proved much harder to further harmonise national business regulations and guarantee mutual market access.
For example, some have posited that a fractional reserve banking system may not be reconciled with a steady state economy and that fee-service banking is the most feasible alternative. Other public policies pertaining to ecological integrity and environmental protection may also be conducive to a steady state economy. For example, some have posited that the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was an implicit prescription for a steady state economy balanced with an economy of nature characterized by numerous threatened and endangered yet stabilized species.
Factors driving the growth of the sharing economy include the flexibility the business model offers and the convenience of online access to shared goods and services. A low barrier to entry for participants and minimal regulations have also increased the number of people opting to leave the traditional workforce and join the sharing economy as a sustainable way of earning income. Georgescu-Roegen’s student, Herman Daly, built upon his mentor’s work and combined limits-to-growth arguments, theories of welfare economics, ecological principles, and the philosophy of sustainable development into a model he called steady state economics. The steady state economy may be pursued in the policy arena with the same policy tools that have historically been used to facilitate economic growth. These include fiscal policy tools such as government spending and taxation, and monetary policy tools such as money supplies and interest rates.
Just as economic growth is the predominant macroeconomic policy goal identified or implied by neoclassical economics, the steady state economy is the predominant macroeconomic policy goal identified or implied by ecological economics. To the extent that ecological economics is an ordre transdisciplinary endeavor rather than a solely analytical framework, its three main concerns are sustainability, equity, and efficiency, each of which may be served via public policy.