Impact and mission investing, community development finance, how we measure what matters… A deeper dive into the infrastructure of the new economy.
Richard Heinberg’s latest book, The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality, argues for a new economic paradigm. He presents a clear, thorough, and convincing argument that our faith in unrelenting growth and unfettered capitalism has led to the demise of our global economic system. The book is well-cited throughout, encouraging curious readers to dig deeper into the source material that helped shape Heinberg’s case. (He acknowledges in particular our own Capital Institute Founder, John Fullerton, who provided background for the book from his perspective as a former managing director at JP Morgan on how Wall Street has evolved over the past quarter century.)
It is unfortunate that Heinberg’s terms seem harsh, but as a young person who is already concerned with limits to growth, he clarifies that the time is now for an era of qualitative development rather than quantitative growth. The End of Growth appropriately invokes fear and a sense of irreversible urgency but it is all in the cause of productive change towards a more buoyant and adaptable economy.
In researching our soon-to-be-released Field Guide study of the Manufacturing Renaissance Council we discovered an illuminating 2011 Brookings Institution white paper, “The Federal Role in Supporting Urban Manufacturing,” co-authored by Joan Byron and Nisha Mistry. The paper focuses exclusively on the emergence of Small Urban Manufacturers (SUMs) as a trend that is transforming the American manufacturing landscape. SUMs are defined as urban manufacturers employing less than 100 people. The authors offer specific suggestions on how federal policy, which has largely failed to serve the needs of these entities, can be retuned to support them.
Chet Baker’s warm, presencing voice and trumpet ushered in the inaugural event of Demos’ “Sustainable Progress Initiative” at the public policy research and advocacy group’s Manhattan offices on the night of October 6. The Initiative’s new senior policy analyst Mijin Cha and its director Lew Daly introduced best-selling author and economist Juliet Schor and her plenitude model, and the evening (which was cosponsored by the World Policy Institute) became an exploration of the model’s potential to free up Americans to be present to explore the dimensions of a more meaningful “livelihood.”
Schor’s latest book, released in paperback under the title: True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans are Creating A Time Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy, describes the plenitude model, which calls for Americans to work fewer hours and reap the benefits of both “time wealth” and reduced carbon footprints. Schor reports that she wrote True Wealth as a solutions manual, sensing that Americans were yearning for an alternative pathway rather than a dissection of what we all know is a broken economic and social system.