Economics

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How traditionalist Hayek feared science would lead to Socialism

Brendan Montague
| 22nd August 2018
Thatcherism was the implementation of neoliberalism - the school of free market economics led by Friedrich von Hayek. This school claimed economics was a science that should direct society and social policy. But, strangely, Hayek felt science itself should be avoided - as it led to socialism. BRENDAN MONTAGUE reports

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What is wrong with a system of laissez-faire economics?

Robert Biel
| 11th April 2018
Adam Smith, the author of The Wealth of Nations, is sometimes credited as the first political economist and many of his followers today advocate free market, laissez-faire, policy. Here Dr ROBERT BIEL argues that Smith was also an early systems theorist - but also sets out why Smith's theory and the system he described are a threat to our ecology

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Sunset years ... power plant and Exxon Mobil oil refinery in Joliet, Illinois. Photo: Greg Wass via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Oil industry's sunset years: low prices, weak demand, poor outlook

Paul Brown
| 15th May 2017
With oil prices remaining low, the world's oil industry is facing bleak years ahead, writes Paul Brown. The global push to decarbonise the economy, combined with surging renewable energy and the trend to more efficient and electric vehicles, is denting investor confidence and pointing to the shrinking away of a once mighty and profitable industry.

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The Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland, UK. Photo: Graeme Maclean via Flickr (CC BY).

Deadly toll of fossil fuel pollution: the old economy versus planet and people

Pete Dolack
Systemic Disorder
| 6th April 2017
Pollution caused by burning fossil fuels are already causing the premature deaths of 200,000 people a year - in the US alone, writes Pete Dolack. Add up the figures worldwide and it comes to many millions. And that's before we even count the catastrophic long term impacts of global warming. The US response: to loosen anti-pollution regulation and encourage increased oil, coal and gas production.

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Announcing the 2017 winners of The Leontief Prize for Economics

Nick Meynen
| 29th March 2017
This year's prestigious Leontief Prize for economics has been awarded to Professors James Boyce and Joan Martinez-Alier for their ground-breaking theoretical and applied work integrating ecological, developmental, and justice-oriented approaches into the field of economics. They are worthy winners, says NICK MEYNEN

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So-called 'smart meters' add up to little but cheaper meter reading for power companies, unless we make them, and the grid, able to deliver variable pricing that reflects the balance of electricity demand and supply. Photo: DeptfordJon via Flickr (CC BY).

Green groups must denounce the sham 'smart meter' scandal

David Toke
| 22nd March 2017
So-called 'smart meters' are being rolled out across the UK, writes David Toke, but they don't support the dynamic pricing that's essential to expand renewable energy and decarbonise our electricity. It's time for green NGOs to get campaigning - and not leave vital decisions to a hostile government, a failing regulator and industry insiders.

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Who says nature is not worth valuing in economic measurements? Sadly, most mainstream economists. Photo: Golden Pond on the University of Victoria campus, BC, Canada, by Nick Kenrick via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Measures of poverty and well-being still ignore the environment - this must change

Judith Schleicher
Bhaskar Vira
University of Cambridge
| 15th March 2017
Orthodox economic measures like Gross Domestic product fail to measure the things that matter most, write Judith Schleicher & Bhaskar Vira: like human wellbeing and ecological health. This creates a systematic bias in 'development' policies that must urgently be addressed if we are to build an inclusive, equitable and sustainable society

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Radical roots ... radishes in a Boston farmers' market. Photo: WBUR Boston's NPR News Station via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brexit and the future of farming: threat or opportunity?

Molly Scott Cato MEP
| 21st February 2017
With most of our food exports going to the EU, and most of our food imports coming from the EU, Molly Scott Cato wondered what plans the government had for the sector after Brexit. The answer? None! Two reports published today map out a positive future of sustainable farming, local food, thriving rural economies and abundant biodiversity. But is the government on the same page?

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Getting the Measure of Sustainable Economic Growth

James Curran
| 30th January 2017
The new Index of Sustainable Economic Growth shows there is a shift to strike a healthier balance between support for the economy, and care for essential social and environmental systems. But can it ever replace GDP as a measure of progress? JAMES CURRAN explores the idea

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Photo: World Economic Forum via Fliclr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Cuckoos in the nest: clipping the wings of corporate capitalism

George Feiger
Aston University
| 17th January 2017
Global corporations and their lofty princes have outgrown the control of regulators, politicians and society, writes George Feiger. Such is their power that they can extract an ever-growing share of global income, block any moves to limit their freedoms, and loot our future wealth for immediate profit. The first step to regaining control is to keep private money firmly out of politics.

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When degrowth enters the parliament

Federico Demaria
| 16th January 2017
Ecological Economist FEDERICO DEMARIA was the youngest panellist at a recent House of Commons debate on ‘Degrowth' as a movement gaining traction and now entering the corridors of power. Here's his report on the challenges and tasks ahead

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VC Summer Nuclear Station Unit 1 in South Carolina, showing the Reactor and Turbine Buildings. An AP1000 Toshiba / Westinghouse reactor is under construction, much delayed, on the same site. Photo: SCE&G via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

Long-promised nuclear revival has run out of steam

Paul Brown
| 4th January 2017
A legacy of lies and covered-up accidents has left nuclear energy with a serious credibility gap, writes Paul Brown. But poor safety is only the beginning of the industry's problems. With 'new improved' reactor designs all running late and way over budget, any nuclear revival can only be sustained at massive, unaffordable taxpayer cost.

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New scientific insights on ecologically unequal trade

Nick Meynen
| 23rd November 2016
Conventional economic analyses of trade tend only to discern the flows of money, writes NICK MEYNEN. But by also considering biophysical metrics - such as material and energy flows, and embodied water and land - ecological economists can identify the asymmetric flows of resources obscured by the apparent reciprocity of market prices.

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Postgrowth debate on 28 Nov 2016

The End of Growth?

11th November 2016
An evening debate with Federico Demaria, Graeme Maxton, Jørgen Randers and Kate Raworth at the House of Commons, Monday 28 Nov 2016

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Once a rainforest ... land cleared for a palm oil plantation, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Privatizing nature, outsourcing governance: the economics of extinction

Margi Prideaux
| 7th November 2016
The 'Global Redesign Initiative', a project of the World Economic Forum, aims to replace UN-based intergovernmental decision-making with unaccountable 'multi-stakeholder governance' run by and for corporations, writes Margi Prideaux. What future for nature and people in this brave new world? Generate profits for investors, or face extinction or exclusion to the margins of existence.

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