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Currently Browsing: Degrowth / Post-Growth

Resilience through Simplification: Revisiting Tainter’s Theory of Collapse

A society or other institution can be destroyed by the cost of sustaining itself. – Joseph Tainter I managed to write one final paper prior to the new semester beginning, this time on the subject of Joseph Tainter’s theory of complexity and collapse. The paper has just been published with the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia and will be also published in two parts on the Energy... read more

Life After the Peak

The following short article has just appeared in this month’s edition of Issues magazine (Vol: 99, pp40-43). It is adapted from my much longer article, ‘Peak Oil, Energy Descent, and the Fate of Consumerism,’ which is available here. The PDF of the article below is available here. Evidence is mounting that the age of cheap energy – the age of cheap oil, in particular – is... read more

Voluntary Simplicity, Degrowth, and Peak Oil

Over the last few years I’ve written a bunch of papers and articles focusing on voluntary simplicity, degrowth, and peak oil. With the new university semester fast approaching, my time available to write long papers is going to diminish, so I thought I’d list my publications to date, with links to most of the full working papers, excluding book chapters. (N.B. The working papers linked below... read more

Transition Towns as Resilience Pioneers

Dr. John Barry has just published an original and challenging new book called The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability: Human Flourishing in a Climate-Changed, Carbon-Contrained World. John was leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland for six years, and now is a Reader in Politics at Queen’s University, Belfast, Ireland. Here’s the blurb of his new book: Going against both the... read more

Ted Trainer and The Simpler Way (Review Essay)

I’m very pleased to announce that Ted Trainer has joined the Simplicity Institute, and in recognition of this important event I’ve spent the last week writing a review essay of his work, which I’ve posted below. Ted has been writing about The Simpler Way for many years,  and in coming weeks and months he will be publishing a series of essays on the Simplicity Institute website (which I... read more

Living Better on Less? Toward an Economics of Sufficiency

My last article summarised a longer paper I have just finished called “Living Better on Less? Toward an Economics of Sufficiency.” This paper reviews the social research that examines the relationship between income and happiness. The central question I ask is: How important is money to happiness? The weight of evidence suggests that income growth tends to contribute positively to human... read more

The Simple Life has Benefits for All of Us

The following article was published in The Age today (16 March). The online newspaper version is available here. Increasing material wealth has been, and remains, one of the dominant goals of humankind – perhaps the dominant goal. This is hardly surprising, of course, given the extremely low material living standards endured by most people throughout history, and indeed, by great multitudes around the... read more

Questioning the Growth Imperative

This post has been published recently in Green (the publication of the Australian Greens), Issue 35, p9.  Celebrated economist, Sir John Hicks, began one of his essays with the pronouncement, ‘We are living in an age of growth.’ It is a view that applies more so today than ever before, at least as a statement of economic desire, if not as a description of recent economic reality. As the world economy... read more

There’s No Tomorrow (Film)

Ignoring the rather gloomy title, I highly recommend this new educational video on peak oil and economic growth. It’s a very engaging summary of many of the issues related to peak oil and resource depletion, and it’s essentially a short (34mins) visual expression of my recent paper, “Peak Oil, Energy Descent, and the Fate of Consumerism,” which is available here. To watch the video,... read more

Overcoming Barriers to Sustainable Consumption

Our country is set up structurally to oppose voluntary simplicity. – Michael Jacobson Our lifestyle decisions, especially our consumption decisions, are not made in a vacuum. Instead, they are made within social, economic, and political structures of constraint, and those structures make some lifestyle decisions easy or necessary and other lifestyle decisions difficult or impossible. Change the social,... read more
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