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Eco-nomics, a 21st Century paradigm in development @GreenPolicy360
 "Eco-nomics" for the 21st Century
- 'Eco-nomics: A New Green Political Economy'
- Turning from Short-Term to Long-Term Thinking
- The Commons
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Eco-nomics: A Reflection on New Eco-concepts and -Visions
SJS / GreenPolicy Siterunner: (A brief personal review of environmental movement beginnings of "eco-nomics" as a "school of thought") In the mid-1970s, continuing what became a thirty plus year professional relationship with Congressman George E. Brown, I began to advocate developing a paradigm (ala Thomas Kuhn's definition of the scientific term) that extended environmental security concepts coming out of the student and environmental movement of the 1960s.
In the 1970s, I was a young editor at a NY publishing and printing company (Faculty Press) and at nights was immersed in a History of Ideas / Political Economy program at the Graduate Faculty of the New School, the New School for Social Research. Hannah Arendt was there when I arrived in the city and her reputation and the university's reputation as a "University in Exile" originally having attracted some of the top European liberal scholars in the world spoke to me of deep thinking.
Professors like Robert Heilbroner and David Gordon opened new vistas of thought as we introduced and debated capitalism versus new forms of economics that could begin to address conflicts and contradictions within capitalism. The legacy of world wars and the Vietnam war loomed in the rear-view mirror and the nuclear weapons brink of "mutually assured destruction" as the central strategic policy of the "Cold War" mentality loomed in pervasive form.
The political alternatives to conventional thinking found a voice in Democratic progressive politics. In 1976 I worked with Jerry Brown's presidential campaign and during this period the Governor became nationally known for his forward thinking (some, like Mike Royko in Chicago thought the Governor was a little too forward and ribbed him until years later Mike and most others saw the success of Governor's Brown's 'out in front' ideas.)
Over the 1970s and 80s Congressman George Brown and I continued to speak often and we regularly met in Washington DC. As a trained scientist/engineer, Congressman Brown continued as a strong voice in the science community and was focused intently on an array of environmental issues. He drafted the first national climate act that passed in 1978. The question of 'real security' not illusory security was at the core of both of our thinking and 'deep' environmental challenges were at the center of a new foundation of environmental legislation. During the period in the late 70s, the Congressman worked with vision to draft the first federal legislation studying the question of global warming, as the AAAS completed its first reports. We spoke together and in our circles of the challenges of industrial policy (as it was called) and costs, costs of war to protect oil/gas and costs to the public from pollution to air, water, cities, health. The Congressman and our allies were successfully shaping the first generation of environment laws and we were envisioning and achieving multiple goals in these endeavors.
In 1976, when I lived in NYC, I worked with Jerry Brown in his first campaign for president, beginning a long relationship. Our central message was one of ecological economics and in many regards we were ahead of the times, even as we were pioneering the modern environmental movement and California was bringing its legislation and regulations forward to the federal level (and Detroit) as models of what could be and should be accomplished.
Academically, a modern ecology/environmental movement was forming as a "school of thought" but this was more of a thread than a deep current capturing the a more diverse, multi-dimension body of knowledge, belief and vision.
In the early 1990s I worked more closely with Governor Brown, as a senior adviser in his presidential campaign, helping to set up the media/issues and correspondence functions (with quick 'turn-around) and drafting an 'insurgent' platform. We brought it forward advocating a change in direction for the Democratic party, a "peace dividend", a focus on worker/environmental standards, a move away from dominance of 'money-in-politics' to a new type of populist politics. Robert Pollin was our campaign's primary economic spokesperson and his green economic thought continues to be at the forefront of today's political vision. Although our '92 "We the People", "Take Back America" campaign surprised and succeeded in its own way, we lost to the Democratic Leadership Council and its chair, Bill Clinton. A move to compete in a war of money and campaign contributions took the Democratic party in a direction that I could not support -- and so I moved on...
Drafting the founding national Green Platform began after the 1992 Brown campaign platform and your GreenPolicy siterunner chose to 'go independent', looking to the future with new ideas.
The goal became to build a "serious, credible Green Party", first in New Mexico and then a formal, legal Green national party.
The foundation, the platform, had to be strong, a lesson my father, a Los Angeles builder taught me and so a strong, lasting Green values statement, "key values", were set in place. I drafted the structure, Call to Action, democratic participation goals, and then details of the concepts of 'eco-nomics'.
My writing and political ventures explored eco-strategic ideas, new concepts of political economy and sustainability as I had written about and discussed over the years with George Brown and Jerry Brown, and associates in many arenas.
As a member of the Writers Guild and immersed in movie-making from USC film school on, I always attempted to bring serious themes to the big screen, I wanted to go beyond Hollywood and a writer with whom I was working, Stirling Silliphant, urged me to leave the city if I wanted to do "serious writing." So, after much thought, in the late 1980s I moved from the beach in Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades to the high desert, to Santa Fe, a town named after St. Francis of Assisi. I lived on Camino del Monte Sol, under Sun Mountain, across from a Monastery and the campus of St. John's College. I became an adviser to the President of St. John's College as we attempted to fund and build a new library and sought, at first successfully the archives of Robert Hutchins and the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions as a core collection, then had to go back on our agreement when we were outvoted by the college's Annapolis directors.
My writing began every morning as monks chanted in the near distance and, in some ways, my original work reflected Bear & Company thoughts of that time as with Charlene Spretnak's "Spiritual Dimensions of Green Politics" and Matthew Fox were brought together with science that was revealing gathering threats to "the Commons".
The result was a more developed body of thought and work, "New Definitions of Security", and over the years these new definitions have expanded into security studies (as with Strategic Demands) and security briefs (as with Strategic Demands of the 21st Century: A New Vision for a New World, from conferences (Surviving Victory) to political platforms as foundations for presidential campaigning, Jerry Brown's in 1992, and on to the founding a new political party, the Greens in 2000.
The time for "Eco-nomics" is here and now. Let us explore new visions of security running deep with diversity.
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SJS / Siterunner: Robert Pollin was an economic spokesperson in our 1992 Jerry Brown campaign for President of the United States...
Pollin attended the New School graduate faculty in political economy in the period when we were both students and he brings exceptional green eco-thinking to the debate over future economics.
Robert Pollin continues to be associated with 'out in front' California politics and initiatives.
Single-Payer Health Care in California, the Numbers in 2017 -- http://www.healthycaliforniaact.org/wp-content/uploads/Pollin-Economic-Analysis-SB-562.pdf
Of course health care is a large percentage of the US economy and health care continues to be a vital issue and serious problem as the US faces facts that include tens of millions of its citizens going without care, and losses in quality of life and productivity that result. As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis used to say about the federal political system of the US, the states can be "laboratories of democracy" at work. A single-payer health care initiative springing from California -- and following onto Governor Brown presidential campaign of '92 with its national health care policy position -- continues to present new opportunities.
More from Robert Pollin and a New School Political Economy Legacy:
“In clear and readable prose, Robert Pollin details how, contrary to the insidious claims of Big Oil, burning fossil fuels at current rates is bad for the economy, bad for the environment, and bad for the poor. Greening the Global Economy powerfully demonstrates that investing in efficiency and renewable energy generates a far better standard of living than the current alternative — abject and massive dependency on fossil fuel.”
— Jerry Brown, Governor of California
In order to control climate change, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that greenhouse gas emissions will need to fall by about forty percent by 2030.
Achieving the target goals will be highly challenging. Yet in Greening the Global Economy, economist Robert Pollin shows that they are attainable through steady, large-scale investments—totaling about 1.5 percent of global GDP on an annual basis—in both energy efficiency and clean renewable energy sources. Not only that: Pollin argues that with the right investments, these efforts will expand employment and drive economic growth.
Drawing on years of research, Pollin explores all aspects of the problem: how much energy will be needed in a range of industrialized and developing economies; what efficiency targets should be; and what kinds of industrial policy will maximize investment and support private and public partnerships in green growth so that a clean energy transformation can unfold without broad subsidies.
All too frequently, inaction on climate change is blamed on its potential harm to the economy. Pollin shows greening the economy is not only possible but necessary: global economic growth depends on it.
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- A Challenge to Classical and Neoliberal Economics
Via Grist / by Nathanael Johnson / 2016
Unbridled capitalism cannot accurately value nature, and does not recognize the property rights of the people who depend upon the natural world for survival. All of humanity depends upon natural systems, of course — but it’s the poor living off the land who have the most to lose from their destruction.
When capitalism is bridled and harnessed, so as to recognize the rights of the disenfranchised, it can provide prosperity and protect the environment.
As economist Amartya Sen has argued, the goal of economic growth is not simply growth, but the provision of liberty. When people have freedom — freedom from hunger, disease, and oppression, the liberties necessary to take the long view — they can protect the resources they depend upon, not to mention the creatures and landscapes they love.
If people in poorer countries need to take a more expensive, but less carbon intensive, path out of poverty, rich countries should be prepared to pay the difference. At the Paris climate summit and preceding meetings, leaders have set up a (totally Byzantine) system for making these sorts of payments. So far, affluent countries have promised more than they have contributed.
The faster poverty declines, the faster the natural systems that support human lives will rebound — and, most importantly, the freer those lives will be.
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A Visible and Invisible Hand of Eco-nomics
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Eco-nomics: Are the Planet-Unfriendly Features of Capitalism Barriers to Sustainability? Abstract:
This paper argues that there are essential features of capitalist modes of production, consumption, and waste dispersal in interaction with the environment and its built-in systemic features that contradict long-term sustainable development.
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The Rise Of ECO-nomics: From Ego to ECO
- How to improve future competitiveness and the environment by changing the corporate consciousness
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- Making room for a more complex view of what the obligations of managers might be
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ECO:nomics: Capitalism and the Environment - A Wall Street Journal perspective - http://economics.wsj.com/
- "Fiduciary responsibility speaks of quarterly returns; survivability speaks to long-range vision and strategies"
March 2015 -- Wall Street Journal forum -- ECO:nomics 2015 -- "New meaning of sustainability and the future of the environmental movement, where energy policy is heading"
Click here to view the 2015 WSJ ECO:nomics report.
Videos from ECO:nomics forum:
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Overview: History of Ideas, "Schools of Eco-nomics"
'Ecological Economics': An emerging paradigm
Sustainable economies, a new interdisciplinary framework that embraces the linkages among economic growth, environmental degradation, and social inequity.
"Blue-Green Eco-nomics: From the 1960s Forward
Global Security: Critical Security
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Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington DC
Center for Popular Economics, Amherst, MA
Dollars & Sense, Somerville, MA
Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University
Political Economy Research Institute University of Massachusetts, Amherst
The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) "...promotes human and ecological well-being through our original research. Our approach is to translate what we learn into workable policy proposals that are capable of improving life on our planet today and in the future. In the words of the late Professor Robert Heilbroner, we at PERI “strive to make a workable science out of morality.”
The Limits to Growth / Research begins in 1970. A slim paperback by a little-known publisher in March of 1972. It exploded onto the scene, becoming the best-selling environmental title in history. More than three million copies have been sold to date in at least 30 languages.
Its message was commonsensical: If humans propagate, spread, build, consume, and pollute beyond the limits of our tiny spinning orb, we will have problems.
The message continues to resonate, the controversy over its limits to growth message continue to reverberate.
SJS / Siterunner: Again, looking back to the Graduate Faculty of the New School in New York, it would be appropriate to look at the political economic writing of one of my professors, David M Gordon, who passed away at a young age in 1996. As David spoke of long-term economics and coined the phrase “social structure of accumulation” (SSA) that augers the need to consider multi-generation impacts of economic activity. Robert Heilbroner was a great inspiration to us all over the years. Let's look back and forward with David's co-author Thomas Weisskopf who writes of David at the 2014 David Gordon Memorial Lecture --- Reflections on 50 Years of Radical Political Economy
New School for Social Research / Political Economy-Liberal Studies-History of Ideas (1970-2000)
- Gordon, David M. with Bowles, Samuel, "Beyond the Waste Land: A Democratic Alternative to Economic Decline" (1983) - https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Waste-Land-Democratic-Alternative/dp/0385183453/
- Gordon, David M. with Bowles, Samuel; Weisskopf, Thomas E. "After the Waste Land: Democratic Economics for the Year 2000 (1990) - https://www.amazon.com/After-Waste-Land-Democratic-Economics/dp/087332644X/
Publications of David Gordon Memorial Lecture Series - http://urpe.org/?page=rrpe&side=browse_content&sub=david_gordon_memorial_lecture
Center for American Progress
Economic Policy Institute
Institute for New Economic Thinking
Institute for Policy Studies
New America Foundation
Small Is Beautiful by E.F. Schmumacher (as interpreted by California Governor Jerry Brown)
SJS / Siterunner: One of my first conversations with Jerry Brown, which began a decades long association, had to do with Schumacher and a philosophy, a paradigm, that was gaining support in our nascent environmental movement...)
Throughout his political career, Brown has displayed a desire to minimize society’s footprint on the Earth -- a stance that will gain a global platform when he arrives in Paris on Friday to participate in the U.N. summit on climate change.
In his spartan lifestyle as a young Jesuit seminarian, his famously barren apartment when he was governor the first time in the 1970s and his more recent campaign to slash greenhouse gas emissions, Brown has always explored ways to limit consumption.
Four decades ago, his focus on the environment -- talking of "Spaceship Earth" and exhortations that "small is beautiful" -- was a curiosity. But as 50,000 people gather in Paris in an ongoing effort to stop global warming, it’s clear that the world has caught up with Brown.
During his weeklong trip, the governor will tout California’s policies, rub shoulders with corporate executives, sign agreements with foreign leaders and be feted at the U.S. ambassador’s residence for his efforts to urge a stronger international accord at the summit.
“They’re not calling him Moonbeam anymore,” said Tom Hayden, an environmental activist and former state legislator who has worked with Brown for years. “This is his moment.”
- By E.F. Schumacher, Book published in 1973
Wikipedia: Schumacher argues that the modern economy is unsustainable. Natural resources (like fossil fuels), are treated as expendable income, when in fact they should be treated as capital, since they are not renewable, and thus subject to eventual depletion. He further argues that nature's resistance to pollution is limited as well. He concludes that government effort must be concentrated on sustainable development, because relatively minor improvements, for example, technology transfer to Third World countries, will not solve the underlying problem of an unsustainable economy.
Schumacher's philosophy is one of "enoughness", appreciating both human needs and limitations, and appropriate use of technology. It grew out of his study of village-based economics, which he later termed Buddhist economics, which is the subject of the book's fourth chapter.
He faults conventional economic thinking for failing to consider the most appropriate scale for an activity, blasts notions that "growth is good", and that "bigger is better", and questions the appropriateness of using mass production in developing countries, promoting instead "production by the masses". Schumacher was one of the first economists to question the appropriateness of using gross national product to measure human well-being, emphasizing that "the aim ought to be to obtain the maximum amount of well being with the minimum amount of consumption". In the epilogue he emphasizes the need for the "philosophy of materialism" to take second place to ideals such as justice, harmony, beauty, and health.
Tag: Sustainability; Eco-nomics; Future-Focus; QualityofLife
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It is not a revelation to speak of green ideas as imbued with long-term thinking. The green vision has found roots and is spreading from local to global communities and the future is filled with the promise of green political thought.
It is sometimes said that "the future doesn't have a vote and, as a result, future generations are neglected". Greens think the future matters deeply and as evidenced in the wisdom of indigenous peoples like the Iroquois, who had a democratic system of governance that looked to "the seventh generation", green thinking speaks of 'the common interest' in decision-making. Green-leaning thought considers the future as "seventh generation thinking" extending beyond present demands and bringing forward key lessons and wisdom learned from the past. Green ideas are more needed than ever given the multiple challenges modern economic systems deliver with crises, contradictions and unsustainable growth.
Green ideas are brought forward in the founding 2000 platform of the US Green Party.
The Green platform captures a green "future-focus" and a "Call to Action" to move to a more sustainable eco-nomic system.
"Fiduciary responsibility goes to quarterly returns; survivability speaks to long-range vision and strategies" -- SJS
Excerpt from the founding platform of the US Green Party / Key Values
Eco-nomics from a Green Political Perspective
- Excerpts from the US Green Party founding platform, 2000
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