Mon May 5th, 2008 at 11:53:34 AM EST
For those not familiar, Herman Daly is one of the fathers of the "ecological economics" movement. The basic premise is that the world is finite and the present economic systems that depend upon depletion of natural resources can't go on for ever.
What is needed is a transition to a steady-state economic system. He has presented a paper summarizing his thinking at a recent conference which has been picked up by the Oil Drum blog.
Here's the link:
He has expanded his core of ideas to include actual policy prescriptions including change the tax and banking structures.
Here's his summary:
Ten Point Policy Summary
- Cap-auction-trade systems for basic resources. Cap limits biophysical scale according to source or sink constraint, whichever is more stringent. Auction captures scarcity rents for equitable redistribution. Trade allows efficient allocation to highest uses.
- Ecological tax reform--shift tax base from value added (labor and capital) and on to "that to which value is added", namely the entropic throughput of resources extracted from nature (depletion), through the economy, and back to nature (pollution). Internalizes external costs as well as raises revenue more equitably. Prices the scarce but previously unpriced contribution of nature.
- Limit the range of inequality in income distribution--a minimum income and a maximum income. Without aggregate growth poverty reduction requires redistribution. Complete equality is unfair; unlimited inequality is unfair. Seek fair limits to inequality.
- Free up the length of the working day, week, and year--allow greater option for leisure or personal work. Full-time external employment for all is hard to provide without growth.
- Re-regulate international commerce--move away from free trade, free capital mobility and globalization, adopt compensating tariffs to protect efficient national policies of cost internalization from standards-lowering competition from other countries.
- Downgrade the IMF-WB-WTO to something like Keynes' plan for a multilateral payments clearing union, charging penalty rates on surplus as well as deficit balances--seek balance on current account, avoid large capital transfers and foreign debts.
- Move to 100% reserve requirements instead of fractional reserve banking. Put control of money supply and seigniorage in hands of the government rather than private banks.
- Enclose the remaining commons of rival natural capital in public trusts, and price it, while freeing from private enclosure and prices the non rival commonwealth of knowledge and information. Stop treating the scarce as if it were non scarce, and the non scarce as if it were scarce.
- Stabilize population. Work toward a balance in which births plus immigrants equals deaths plus out-migrants.
- Reform national accounts--separate GDP into a cost account and a benefits account. Compare them at the margin, stop growing when marginal costs equal marginal benefits. Never add the two accounts.
Since I've been a big fan of his goals and a critic of his lack of implementation ideas, this seems a good step forward.
I've not been able to find the original talk, so if anyone else does please post a link.