A Singul(arity) Track Mind

I like reading things that I think I’ll disagree with. I just borrowed one such book from the library—Peter Diamandis’s Abundance. His book has gotten a fair bit of traction in the mainstream and technology press, and more than that Diamandis seemed to be one of the few techno-centric authors willing to at least attempt … Continue Reading

4 arguments for deliberate descent, part 2: aesthetic

This is part 2 in a series of posts on a taxonomy of arguments for deliberate descent.  Part 1 is here. Aesthetic arguments.  An aesthetic argument concludes that we ought to initiate deliberate descent from the premise that doing so will yield a more beautiful world or way of life.1  Few if any writers make … Continue Reading

4 arguments for deliberate descent, part 1: prudential

‘Deliberate descent’ is the name I’m going to use for the whole family of ideas that includes “downshifting,” “decivilization,” “uncivilization,” “sustainable” living, “deindustrialization,” etc., plus the variety of particular proposals for doing so, such as John Michael Greer’s Green Wizardry, Sharon Astyk’s Adapting in Place, and Rob Hopkins’s Transition movement.  All of these ideas focus … Continue Reading

The Invisible Technological Midpoint

Some time back Adam explored the notion of minimalism, and I’d like to revisit that in the context of technology and civilization. The conclusion he seemed to come to was that some sort of middle course is the right one—shunning all technology can be just as limiting as embracing all of it. In part because … Continue Reading

If Only We Had Free Energy

I thought I’d do a thought experiment. Suppose tomorrow morning a hypothetical university—let’s call it T.I.M.—sends out their weekly press release claiming a “revolutionary breakthrough” that will change the way we think about energy. Unlike every other time in the past decade they’ve made this claim, though, suppose this time it’s actually true: they’ve discovered … Continue Reading

A Conversation with Herman Daly

We are grateful to Herman Daly for chatting with us on a range of topics from ecology to economics, policy to politics, relocalization to religion.  He is Emeritus Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, pioneered work on Steady-State and Ecological Economics, and has received more accolades and written more books than … Continue Reading

A Time When There Was Still Time

I recently spent a little time in a university library, perusing the collection. As always I lingered the most in the sections on environment and ecology and related sections on ecological economics and sustainability. There I encountered, as usual, shelf after shelf of sincerely reasoned, passionately argued works—thousands of books in total—describing in every detail … Continue Reading

A Psychological Carbon Tax

There’s plenty of understanding that efficiency measures can sometimes (often) fail if they fall victim to Jevon’s Paradox.  The common response is that we need to couple efficiency measures with a carbon tax or similar policy that give people both the means and the incentive to decrease energy consumption. But let’s look at the underlying … Continue Reading