Author Archive

Limits to Economic Growth?

Dec 07, 2017 2 Comments by
"Mainstream economists typically concentrate on science, technology and innovation to explain economic growth – but virtually all these new innovations are new ways to use energy and it is the energy of coal, oil and gas that does the work," writes Brian Davey.
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The Corruption of Capitalism by Guy Standing: review by Brian Davey

Nov 20, 2017 1 Comment by
This book is a powerful attack on rentier capitalism and, very explicitly, a call to revolt. Standing is at his best describing the features of crony capitalism that are totally different from the neo-liberal story of free markets that justifies it. While a very informative read, the analysis urgently needs to be expanded if the emerging commons movement is to be able to adapt to the limits to growth.
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Commons in the political mainstream?

Nov 16, 2017 No Comments by
There is a good chance that a new Labour government in the UK will introduce widespread measures to revive the commons. This would be quite revolutionary, but in what context would the new policies be launched and how would they be countered by the political economic elite? And how should a future Labour government act to forestall problems arising from the limits to economic growth? By Brian Davey.
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The future of renewable energy

Oct 02, 2017 1 Comment by
Brian Davey argues that it will be difficult to bring a new, renewables-based energy sector into existence when the economy is stagnant and people will struggle to afford expensive innovation. Paradoxically in these circumstances it is likely to be many older technologies that will make sense again - perhaps in a reworked form.
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King Donald and his Court

Jul 12, 2017 Comments Off on King Donald and his Court by
Brian Davey argues that Trump's administration is a symptom of a crisis in US democratic institutions and US society, arising from over-complexity. This administration has made clever use of both old and new forms of media to galvanise support. Resistance needs to start on a local level.
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Using energy to extract energy – the dynamics of depletion

Jun 21, 2017 Comments Off on Using energy to extract energy – the dynamics of depletion by
"Transferring resources out of the luxury consumption of the rich is a necessary part of the process of finding the wherewithal for energy conservation work and for developing renewable energy resources," writes Brian Davey in a chapter from Credo that was written in 2014 but is still relevant now.
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Brexit and complexity

May 10, 2017 Comments Off on Brexit and complexity by
Brian Davey draws on the work of Joseph Tainter and cybernetics research to argue that the least risky approach to Brexit is to follow Yanis Varoufakis' advice and go for an interim, off the peg solution.
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Limits to economic growth?

Apr 18, 2017 1 Comment
In this presentation given at the University of Nottingham on April 4, Brian Davey investigates the historical roots of the growth-based economy. He critiques the assumption that renewable energy could take over from fossil fuels while maintaining economic growth, and goes on to discuss some ways forward.
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The Climate Crisis and Economic Policy Choices

Dec 01, 2016 Comments Off on The Climate Crisis and Economic Policy Choices
Brian Davey, in Credo, argues that carbon emissions will never fall at a sufficient rate in a growth economy. Unfortunately, the EU operates a climate policy framework, the EU Emissions Trading System, that was designed by BP and it doesn’t work. Policies that might work were the political will there are described. However, the fossil fuel industry still has a stranglehold on policy.
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Prejudice, Ignorance and Granfalloons – Society in the Trump Era

Nov 24, 2016 Comments Off on Prejudice, Ignorance and Granfalloons – Society in the Trump Era
Energetic and ecological limits are mostly unknown because they are taboos. It would be great if people found out more about these limits because responding to them seems to me to be the most pressing of all agendas for society. What is more likely however is that the bulk of the population will now pre-occupy themselves with granfalloons instead – and plenty of very educated people will help them. By Brian Davey.
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Living in Unpredictable Times

Nov 20, 2016 Comments Off on Living in Unpredictable Times
Brian Davey argues that in many aspects of life one can turn a story upside down or reverse cause and effect and it will still be plausible. Moreover, things that don't fit into the prevailing narrative are often downplayed or ignored. The coming bankruptcy of the energy sector is a crisis that mainstream economists will not be able to understand nor to solve. The faith that there will always be a techno fix and that continued growth is the normal state of affairs is likely to remain pervasive for a longest time - despite growing chaos.
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Georgist Macro-Economics and the Land Value Tax

Oct 15, 2016 Comments Off on Georgist Macro-Economics and the Land Value Tax
Brian Davey argues in Credo that the ideas of Henry George are still very relevant for economic theory. A site value tax would help to stabilise property market cycles and promote greater spatial efficiency. However, while helpful, market mechanisms like a site value tax will not, on its own, fully resolve the environmental crisis.
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Marginal productivity theory

Sep 21, 2016 Comments Off on Marginal productivity theory
This chapter of Credo, by Brian Davey, describes the “marginal revolution” of neoclassical economics. The idea of marginal productivity and payments to “factors of production” was developed for ideological reasons to counter thinkers like Marx and George. The theoretical framework learned by generations of students is contradicted by the evidence. The ideas of capital and land in neoclassical economics are incoherent.
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