Nature Mag Jumps the Shark with New Paper. Pure Communism Disguised as Economics.

Featured image: The idiom “jumping the shark” was coined in 1985 by Jon Hein in response to a 1977 episode from the fifth season of the American sitcom Happy Days, in which Fonzie (Henry Winkler) jumps over a shark while on water-skis. The phrase is pejorative and is used to argue that a creative work or outlet appears to be making a stunt in a seemingly exhaustive attempt to generate elevated attention or publicity to something that was once perceived as popular, but is no longer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_the_shark

As the pushback against ESG grows louder, this tone deaf and economically illiterate article pushing pure communism central economic control appears in Nature, with the title and tagline:

Degrowth can work — here’s how science can help

Wealthy countries can create prosperity while using less materials and energy if they abandon economic growth as an objective.

This article appears just as the pushback against ESG is gaining traction, with multiple US states divesting from ESG and ESG fund managers under investigation for breach of fiduciary duty.

Here are three articles we’ve published within the last week about the negative aspects of ESG.

The article in Nature is more sophomoric and naive than I would normally expect.

The global economy is structured around growth — the idea that firms, industries and nations must increase production every year, regardless of whether it is needed. This dynamic is driving climate change and ecological breakdown. High-income economies, and the corporations and wealthy classes that dominate them, are mainly responsible for this problem and consume energy and materials at unsustainable rates1,2.

Yet many industrialized countries are now struggling to grow their economies, given economic convulsions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, resource scarcities and stagnating productivity improvements. Governments face a difficult situation. Their attempts to stimulate growth clash with objectives to improve human well-being and reduce environmental damage.

Researchers in ecological economics call for a different approach — degrowth3. Wealthy economies should abandon growth of gross domestic product (GDP) as a goal, scale down destructive and unnecessary forms of production to reduce energy and material use, and focus economic activity around securing human needs and well-being. This approach, which has gained traction in recent years, can enable rapid decarbonization and stop ecological breakdown while improving social outcomes2. It frees up energy and materials for low- and middle-income countries in which growth might still be needed for development. Degrowth is a purposeful strategy to stabilize economies and achieve social and ecological goals, unlike recession, which is chaotic and socially destabilizing and occurs when growth-dependent economies fail to grow.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-04412-x

The paragraphs above take the myopic view that the problems they note are caused by economic growth and not the push for the opposite, sustainable development, unreliable power generation, as well as the disastrous response of governments around the world to Covid.

The article is not much more than a bulleted list of socialist demands. Since everything is a human right if they want it.

Here is a list of those points sans commentary.

  • Reduce less-necessary production.
  • Improve public services. 
  • Introduce a green jobs guarantee.
  • Reduce working time. 
  • Enable sustainable development. 

And here are their five key “research” “challenges”.

  • Remove dependencies on growth
  • Fund public services
  • Manage working-time reductions
  • Reshape provisioning systems
  • Political feasibility and opposition

My favorite of the five was the first, remove dependencies on growth.

Economies today depend on growth in several ways. Welfare is often funded by tax revenues. Private pension providers rely on stock-market growth for financial returns. Firms cite projected growth to attract investors. Researchers need to identify and address such ‘growth dependencies’ on a sector-by-sector basis.

For example, the ‘fiduciary duty’ of company directors needs to be changed. Instead of prioritizing the short-term financial interests of shareholders, companies should prioritize social and environmental benefits and take social and ecological costs into account. Sectors such as social care and pensions need secure funding mechanisms for public providers, and better regulation and dismantling of perverse financial incentives for private providers4.

Balancing the national economy will require new macro-economic models that combine economic, financial, social and ecological variables. Models such as LowGrow SFC (developed by T.J. and P.A.V.), EUROGREEN and MEDEAS are already being used to project the impacts of degrowth policies, including redistributive taxes, universal public services and reductions in working time.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-04412-x

So, ESG, wealth distribution, and central economic planning and control. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

I have two questions for anyone that claims to be opposed to the concept of economic growth.

Have you ever received a pay raise?
Are you willing to forego any future pay raises?

If you have a strong stomach you can read this complete indictment of the modern education system here.

HT/Cam_S


Eric Worrall – Charles invited me to add an addendum.

It is not just pay rises zero growth participants would miss.

Most of us change jobs at least a few times in our lives, but changing job is very much an integral part of economic growth. If you move to a better paid job, the better pay is only available because your new employer needs you more than your old employer, and is prepared to pay more for your services. Moving resources from low value uses to high value uses is the very definition of capitalist wealth creation, including when those resources happen to be people moving jobs. Wealth creation is the engine which drives economic growth.

But maybe we wouldn’t want to change jobs, if every job was already perfect.

Zero economic growth and everyone’s needs fulfilled conjures a momentary vision in my mind of The Shire, the idyllic home of the Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings. A seductive vision of everyone happily working, but not too hard, having a beer at the pub at the end of the day, belonging to the group and village, and trying to work up the courage to ask out that sexy barmaid.

Sam and Rosie
The Hobbit Sam and the barmaid Rosie. Source Lord of the Rings, Fair Use, Low Resolution Image to Identify the Subject.

Then reality sets in and the idyllic vision is banished, because the reality to date has always been very different.

Every time zero growth has been attempted on a large scale, the result has always been thousands or even millions of deaths. One of the worst recent examples, the end result of Pol Pot’s attempt to return Cambodia to idyllic agrarian bliss was mountains of skulls – an estimated 1.5 – 3 million people died during Pol Pot’s year zero experiment.

Cambodia Khmer Rouge
Memento from last time someone attempted economic degrowth, in Cambodia in 1975. Sigmankatie, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The researchers pushing zero growth seem to be claiming their economic models will help them get it right this time, but the risk of getting it wrong, and the horrific consequences of getting it wrong, are a strong argument for caution.

Welcome to Jonestown
Welcome to Jonestown. By Jonestown Institute, Attribution, Link

Some groups who attempt living a simple life have had less horrible outcomes, but the distinguishing feature of the groups which make it work and avoid committing mass murder appears to be that they don’t have locks on the compound gates. People are free to leave, if they find the life doesn’t suit them.

For example, as a student I used to love eating at Hare Krishna restaurants, which were supplied by communal farms and funded by donations.

I never had any urge to join their group, but they were very gentle about proselytisation, at least that was my experience. Working on my uncle’s Christmas Tree farm with hand tools was a great vacation job, but I learned first hand how hard farming can be – so I knew even as a student, this wasn’t the life I wanted.

Not everyone is like me, there are plenty of people who do enjoy a life focussed on goals other than economic growth, who spend many years, maybe even their whole life, living and working in agrarian communes.

So here’s a suggestion – if researchers are so sure of their economic models, why don’t they try to put them into practice on a smaller scale? A self governing Hare Krishna style commune operating on modern zero growth economic models, which trades with the outside economy for materials they can’t source for themselves would be a great small scale test of their theories.

I’m not being facetious, I would be deeply interested in the outcome of such an experiment. I’d probably even want to visit, maybe even stay for a few nights. But I doubt I’d want to live that way for the rest of my life – unless they really do get it right, and find a way to satisfy the needs of everyone, including a hardline capitalist like me.

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Tom Halla
December 14, 2022 6:08 am

“Watermelon” is an appropriate insult.

Bryan A
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 14, 2022 7:29 am

One outcome of their desired utopia would be … Perhaps then every country should only grow the quantity of food their country needs. No more shipping food overseas to countries that can’t. They shall have to downsize their population to match their production potential. No more producing solar panels in China beyond what China uses. If the U.S. (U.K., Germany, France, etc) want solar panels, they shall have to mine, refine, and manufacture what is needed within their own borders. Same goes for Lithium for batteries and any other energy source. No more importing energy produced by another country. If you don’t have what is needed within your country’s resources…oh well…

Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 6:18 am

Wealthy countries can create prosperity while using less materials and energy if they abandon economic growth as an objective.”

But economic growth is the ONLY true measure of prosperity.

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 8:48 am

More importantly, economic growth in inevitable. People have imaginations, they are always trying to find better ways of doing things.

The only way socialism can work is if nothing changes. Over the course of hundreds of years of no changes, you could theoretically fine tune the economy to 100% efficiency. But that presumes no one retires or gets sick, because those unplanned disruptions require someone else to fill the slack, or add their own disruptions down the line.

Then Betsy on the production line realizes that she can pick up bolts with her left hand marginally faster than with her right hand if she just repositions her work bench a few inches and stands at a different angle, now she’s the fastest worker on her line, and her co-workers either resent her and shun her and she quits to find another job, or they take it as a challenge and improve on her speedup, and pretty soon the assembly line saves 10 minutes a day, either producing too many widgets to sell or giving them a little time off.

And so on.

Socialism is simply impossible in any real society.

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
December 14, 2022 8:58 am

Bad vibes, replying to myself, but something reminded me of this. As I said, people are always imaging better ways of doing things.

I remember seeing my first whack-a-mole arcade game with some friends. Lotta fun, that’s for sure! Had me laughing and giggling at the fun of whacking the popup moles. But that hammer slowed me down, so I started using bare hands. Not only fewer motions, but two handed — and then my friends got annoyed that I was cheating. So I went back to the hammer, but the fun was gone.

The moral is that people always want to find better ways to do things. You cannot stop the signal.

I also learned that I am no game player. I wrote two computer games in yee olde times, and cared not at all for actually playing them other than as a means of making them better. Co-workers who played them found ways of playing them better that I had missed.

People always want to do things better. It cannot be stopped.

Mr.
Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
December 14, 2022 10:06 am

Yes the human drive to compete is in our DNA.

That’s why giving kids “participation certificates” to everyone instead of winner / place getter awards is just an attempt to suppress the kids’ natural instincts.

As for adults getting “participation certificates” – so lame.

robaustin
Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
December 14, 2022 9:39 am

Reminds of the old Soviet wisdom, “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay.”
Capitalism or better yet, the free market is the best system for humanity as it mimics the man’s prehistoric struggles in the natural world.Competition in the wider world aided by cooperation within the tribal group. Communism might work well if we were bees or ants with hard wired roles assigned at birth. Science and Nature are in free fall to tabloid status.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
December 14, 2022 1:05 pm

“Socialism is simply impossible in any real society.”

It’s like herding cats- not workable as our species has a built in independence streak based on our evolution.

AndyHce
Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
December 14, 2022 1:17 pm

her co-workers either resent her and shun her and she quits to find another job, or they take it as a challenge and improve on her speedup

No, look at unions today. What they do is ambush her after work and beat her senseless until she abandons her new approach. Perhaps a committee calls on her before violence gets out of hand and makes clear her options for continuing to have a life, forestalling the beatings if she is intimidated enough to cooperate.

doonman
Reply to  AndyHce
December 14, 2022 5:13 pm

It’s not just labor unions, who claim “it’s not my job” and point to negotiated job descriptions that don’t include efficiency improvements. It’s also middle management, who have a budget to perform a certain function and don’t want budget cuts in their departments as a result of unplanned efficiency improvements.

IAMPCBOB
Reply to  AndyHce
December 17, 2022 11:08 am

As a young dude fresh out oif the Air Force, I took a job in a machine shop, where we made valves and fittings for fertilzer machines, used by farmers in the early Spring. It was naturally seasonal work and the off seasons saw workers cleaning windows, sweping floors, anything to keep from being laid off and availble for the next busy season. My background had taught me to impriove my skills and productivity. as I learned a new trade or task. I began, slowly, to improve my speed and skill on the lathes and making parts faster and faster. I was pulled aside one day by one of the older guys who told me I had to SLOW DOWN or I work us all out of a job! This was a non-union shop! I could easily understand if it had been a union job, because that’s how they roll, as I foun d out later! This stuck with me for decades. The shop supervisor, in fact, told me to just ignore them, because the company had never laid anyone off yet!

n.n
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 10:39 am

Net-Zero economic and human growth. Abort, cannibalize, sequester.

Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 6:20 am

“The global economy is structured around growth — the idea that firms, industries and nations must increase production every year, regardless of whether it is needed.”

But of course it’s needed!

hiskorr
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 6:50 am

So, someone else is empowered to determine my “needs”? No, thank you!

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  hiskorr
December 14, 2022 1:13 pm

You misunderstood- society as a whole needs more production- not that anyone ought to determine YOUR needs.

paul courtney
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 5:30 pm

“regardless of whether it’s needed”, I thought they were talking about EVs.

Philip CM
December 14, 2022 6:22 am

Let the “scientist” who proclaim such a feat possible, first achieve zero growth. The taxpayer ought to save a bundle right there… and science could use the break from managing CAGW, COVID-19, ESG, DEI(die), transgenderism… you know, the social stuff.

MJB
December 14, 2022 6:25 am

Regarding communes and various attempts at alternative economic and social systems, you might be interested in the planned community of Auroville in India.

Wikipedia entry:

“Auroville is an experimental township in Viluppuram district, mostly in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, with some parts in the Union Territory of Pondicherry in India.[3] It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (known as “the Mother”) and designed by architect Roger Anger.”

Article in Slate:

“India’s Auroville was envisioned as an international community free of government, money, religion, and strife. It hasn’t exactly worked out quite as planned.”

Admin
Reply to  MJB
December 14, 2022 1:24 pm

Scary stuff. I don’t think I’ll be paying a visit!

B Zipperer
Reply to  MJB
December 14, 2022 3:19 pm

MJB
Eric
There is a very good book reviewing the multiple worldwide attempts at socialism/communism over the years since Marx. The author mentions some form of it has failed ~58 times.
IIRC the closest it ever came to being successful was the Israeli kibbutz [but each succeeding generation was less enthused, too many free-riders and finally — wait for it — government subsidies stopped].
“Heaven on Earth” (2002) by Joshua Murravchik

Admin
Reply to  B Zipperer
December 14, 2022 5:04 pm

I’ll look it up, thanks for the heads up.

MJB
Reply to  B Zipperer
December 15, 2022 5:11 am

Thanks for the recommendation, I will definitely look it up.

IAMPCBOB
Reply to  MJB
December 17, 2022 10:37 am

So far, neither socialism nor Communism has ever ‘worked’! This truth is never apparent to those who try to push it off on others nor those who are required to suffer from it! The truth fianlly arrives after years or decades of abject failure! The end is never pretty, either!

Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 6:25 am

“I have generally have two questions for anyone that claims to be opposed to the concept of economic growth.
Have you ever received a pay raise? Are you willing to forego any future pay raises? “

More like: Have you ever received a large pay cut?

Last edited 1 month ago by Joseph Zorzin
abolition man
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 7:50 am

If only self-avowed Marxists would prove the depth of their commitment by acceding to the personal tax rates required by the destruction of incentives; usually in the 90-95% range!
It is still doubtful that most of the recently graduated ignorati would make the connection between slavery and a 100% tax rate!

strativarius
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 8:10 am

No, no, no!

Have you ever volunteered for a large pay cut?

Last edited 1 month ago by strativarius
Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  strativarius
December 14, 2022 8:18 am

Well, personally, I opted for a lifetime pay cut because, as a guy with a forestry degree, the choice was work for a big timber company (didn’t interest me), work for a bureaucracy (gag) or be a self employed consultant. I chose the latter and didn’t manage to be highly successful financially – but I stuck with it, paid the bills, got a house, got cars/trucks, and now at age of 73 I don’t owe anybody a penny- and I was free all these years to battle the stupid, useless, state forestry policies- while the career climbers all bowed down and kissed the asses of the top bureaucrats, never challenged policies and lost my respect with 1 or 2 exceptions. I preferred to be poor rather than a cog in a wheel. I think it was Henry David Thoreau who influenced me the most- with a touch of Tim Leary. 🙂

MarkW
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 8:34 am

Not all income is financial.
I’m pretty sure that strativarius was referring to taking a pay cut while working the same job.

strativarius
Reply to  MarkW
December 14, 2022 9:04 am

Indeed I was

stevekj
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 10:20 am

Did you go to the woods because you wanted to live deep, to suck out all the marrow of life, put to rout all that was not life, and not, when you came to die, discover that you had not lived? 🙂

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  stevekj
December 14, 2022 1:10 pm

Nah, mostly ’cause I was lazy and thought hiking in the woods for a living would be fun- and I could get buzzed if I wanted to and nobody would know or care. 🙂

Actually, I had worked in factories, construction and restaurants in summer jobs. Hated all that and I knew I’d hate any office work. I also have zero interest in large organizations, especially bureaucracies. I might have gone into engineering but it was the ’60s and that seemed not very groovy. I would have been a good engineer. One reason I like this site is lots of engineers with lots of common sense which I like.

traildawg
December 14, 2022 6:28 am

Sure sounds WEFian: “Wealthy countries can create prosperity while using less materials and energy if they abandon economic growth as an objective.”

Thanks for the article!

Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 6:30 am

“For example, as a student I used to love eating at Hare Krishna restaurants, which were supplied by communal farms and funded by donations.
I never had any urge to join their group, but they were very gentle about proselytisation, at least that was my experience.”

I was hitching in the early ’70s and got picked up by a busload of Hare Krishna dudes in full outfit and hair style. At first I thought- this might be cool- until I listened to them talking- they sounded no more enlightened than any bunch of drunk frat boys.

spetzer86
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 7:03 am

Probably similar to listening to a 20 something discussing pronoun usage.

strativarius
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 14, 2022 8:16 am

Dressed in that hideous orange?

They used to float on by down the Portobello road on a Saturday afternoon

Moriarty
December 14, 2022 6:44 am

Did you catch the phrase “whether it is needed” at the beginning? That’s all you need to know. The experts will detect whether you need a new iPhone, whether you need to own an automobile and whether you need to own a home at all.

Those who know a little about economics know the market informs these decisions. Businesses that make products or provide services that aren’t needed don’t last. No government control board is needed.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Moriarty
December 14, 2022 7:33 am

Nice sturdy sandals is more on what you would get.

MarkH
Reply to  Moriarty
December 14, 2022 3:48 pm

In Canada, they will decide whether you need that medical care, or whether, instead you need “assisted dying”. It’s for the greater good, they’ll say.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  MarkH
December 15, 2022 1:48 pm

whose greater good?

R Taylor
December 14, 2022 6:47 am

I see the Hare Krishna test as too complicated. Just tell these “researchers” that their salaries, benefits and pensions will be degrowthed by a “reasonable” amount per year, and watch their opinions change.

Decaf
Reply to  R Taylor
December 14, 2022 7:03 am

Let them all be the test case. Let Schwab, Gates, etc, build that zero growth commune and have visiting days so we can all check out how it’s going for them. They’d only be able to sustain their lifestyle by charging an entry fee, and I certainly would not begrudge them that.

I’d even make a special trip to see them eating crickets, heating one room, living in a containment shelter, etc.

Bryan A
Reply to  Decaf
December 14, 2022 7:42 am

Wouldn’t need to worry about only heating one room, the living quarters would be single rooms (12′ x 16′) with Bunk Beds on the outside walls, a composting toilet between them, a shower head over the toilet and a privacy curtain surrounding it. A small kitchenette with a single hot plate for cooking and small refer for tomorrow’s food storage.

michael hart
December 14, 2022 6:55 am

“Wealthy countries can create prosperity while using less materials and energy if they abandon economic growth as an objective.”

What a bunch of complete dipsticks. The arrow of economic development over time is constantly to do the same or more while using less materials and energy.

David Dibbell
December 14, 2022 6:58 am

https://www.opportunityinstitute.org/blog/post/a-christmas-carol-sending-the-poor-to-prison/

“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

That’s where “de-growth” ends up, as I see it.

nailheadtom
December 14, 2022 7:09 am

“Private pension providers rely on stock-market growth for financial returns.”

Just like limited-liability corporations can’t exist without government validation, all pension funds are either creations of government (social security) or programs allowed by government. Money earned during one’s working life is sequestered in an account somewhere that can be accessed during the golden years.
This means that the representatives of government consider their constituents as morons, incapable of making investments on their own. In fact, the designers and regulators of pensions look at the money confiscated from employees as a gigantic pool of useful investment funds. The private pension providers rely on pension funds for stock market growth and financial returns. The government pensions are simply returns on a tax.

Streetcred
Reply to  nailheadtom
December 14, 2022 10:58 pm

In Australia it is called superannuation and it is now dominated by the unions despite only 14% of the workforce being unionized. There are some horrific investment bungles and substantial buying of influence amongst their preferred Labor politicians.

Matt Kiro
December 14, 2022 7:17 am

I’m all for the shrinking of governments, would that help ?

Rick C
December 14, 2022 7:35 am

My first question to these bozos would be: How will you pay off $30 Trillion in debt? Get back to me when you have an answer and we can talk.

abolition man
Reply to  Rick C
December 14, 2022 7:55 am

Rick,
These are the same bozos that believe the “Green” economy will provide numerous, high paying jobs! Apparently their plan is to use rainbows and unicorn farts for everything! ROTFLMAO!!

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Rick C
December 14, 2022 10:27 am

Why do you think we have planned inflation? Politicians love it because it effectively reduces the debt. They can print more money to buy votes, which causes planned inflation, which reduces the national debt, which gives them more money to buy votes. It’s simple economics. :<)

Last edited 1 month ago by Joe Crawford
Moriarty
Reply to  Rick C
December 14, 2022 11:34 am

I think the plan is to mint a new $30 Trillion dollar coin.

Streetcred
Reply to  Moriarty
December 14, 2022 10:59 pm

a la Zimbabwe ?

Lee Riffee
December 14, 2022 7:58 am

First off, as is duly noted in the above article, history has a tendency to repeat itself. And those who are ignorant of (or who ignore) history will surely end up repeating it! IMO that is a major problem with the world today – history is not being taught, or at least whatever is taught is done in a very selective manner that excludes so many important things. What good is it to learn about civil rights and the history of slavery when so many other horrid people and happenings (like Stalin, Pol-Pot, East Germany, etc, etc) are either not taught or not fully explained?
I’d guess that at least some millennials are dimly aware of the Berlin Wall and its fall. But I wonder how many know why people were so desperate to escape East Germany? And what life was like there during communist rule? That’s a perfect example of what the article is referring to! A society where everyone has a job, and everyone has equal pay, but we saw what happened when the incentive to work harder and do better was removed. Bad workers didn’t get fired as long as they showed up, no matter how half-arsed of a job they did. Production was low, and people waited on long lists for simple things like cars and tv sets. And when they finally got the goods they waited for so long, that tv set just might explode and start a fire….and that cute little Trabant might also catch fire and explode!
In contrast, in our western capitalistic society, a manufacturer who makes crappy products like that will soon be out of business. Or, before it gets to that point they will fire the lousy workers. Or if something dysfunctional does get made and sold, often it will be recalled.
Yes, the government enforces safety standards on many products, but even without that, word would get out pretty quick about bad products and people would stop buying them.
Not so in East Germany…..

Rud Istvan
December 14, 2022 8:01 am

The comment article appeared in NATURE, supposedly one of only two truly premier peer reviewed journals, the other being SCIENCE. Shows how far ‘science’ has sunk.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 14, 2022 11:38 am

Some of us remember when Nature and Science were premier journals. I also recall the Scientific American magazine.
I wonder if young people will ever know a good science journal?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  John Hultquist
December 14, 2022 12:54 pm

I cancelled SciAm about 15 years ago, after realizing it was no longer either scientific or American.

strativarius
December 14, 2022 8:08 am

 Instead of prioritizing the short-term financial interests of shareholders, companies should prioritize social and environmental benefits and take social and ecological costs into account.”

And when companies go bust, as they will, is that counted as a social and ecological cost, or just an unfortunate occurrence in which many lose their livelihoods?

These people have one zero in mind – zero human impact. This zero growth is what flattening the curve was to lockdown

Tom in Florida
Reply to  strativarius
December 14, 2022 11:49 am

The finacial interests of shareholders (one or thousands) is the reason companies exist, the only reason. Everything else is secondary.

Frank from NoVA
December 14, 2022 8:16 am

If you understand that the definition of economic progress can be summarized as ‘more – better – cheaper’, you know far more economics than the vast majority of the PhD holders in this field.

Peta of Newark
December 14, 2022 8:20 am

Quote:This dynamic is driving climate change and ecological breakdown

More wrong than a really wrong thing

Fixquote:The production and consumption of sugar is driving climate change and ecological breakdown

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 14, 2022 11:50 am

Your obsession with sugar is driving me to drink.

Gary Pearse
December 14, 2022 8:21 am

“..increase production every year, regardless of whether it is needed.”!!!

Naive indeed. Surely even ‘Researchers in ecological economics’ (!) knows that if a manufacturer produces something nobody needs or wants, the ‘unseen hand’ ensures it stops being made. They are painfully unaware that economics is not a construct. It is the psychology of human behavior in the marketplace.

Dark Side science has the same disqualifying fault. Findings aren’t validated by what the research group would like them to be.

MarkW
December 14, 2022 8:27 am

The global economy is structured around growth

The notion that the reason why the economy grows is because capitalists want it to grow, is one of the common misconceptions pushed by those who understand neither capitalism nor human nature (IE, every socialist who ever lived.)

Economies grow because people always want more stuff. It isn’t “capitalism” training individuals to always want more. That is basic human nature.

Socialists have convinced themselves that the peons should be satisfied with whatever their betters decide they should have.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  MarkW
December 14, 2022 10:30 am

Imagine how many people would be out of a job if governments decided that only government sanctioned needed things should be produced and frivolous wants should be outlawed for the sake of the planet. What a bleak world these socialists dream of.

Scarecrow Repair
December 14, 2022 8:42 am

I first read The Hobbit when I was just out of high school. I’ve always been a skeptic, and I remember very clearly wondering what any hobbits did for a living. There were the service jobs — the restaurant staff, gardeners — but no one actually created anything, other than dwarves being miners. Nobles running around saving the world — who made their equipment? Who made homes? It all seemed like some purified society full of lazy aristocrats, boring as could be.

Tony_G
Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
December 14, 2022 10:30 am

There was at least one farmer in Fellowship, which suggests to me that the working class existed but was not at all featured in the books. I think I also recall a smith, but it’s been so long I may be misremembering.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Tony_G
December 14, 2022 11:41 am

This is sort of like depictions of basic bodily functions that almost never appear in mass market fiction.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  John Hultquist
December 14, 2022 11:53 am

No shit.

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  John Hultquist
December 14, 2022 12:05 pm

It relegates it to that level, yes. But my point was that not a single character ever mentioned work. Even movies which never show offices or factories at least make mention of parents going to work or meeting after work.

mkelly
December 14, 2022 8:45 am

From the post:”resource scarcities…”.

Oil, coal, and natural gas are not scarce. Lying seems to be a habit with many writers today.

mikesigman
December 14, 2022 9:31 am

“Nature”, like “The Lancet”, has proved time and again that it is prone to political bias favoring the Left. That would be fine, in most publications, but in publications purporting to espouse scientific rigor and objectivity, it makes “Nature” a useless source material. Who can trust the objectivity in *any* Nature article if they’re so obviously biased in other articles?

Mr.
Reply to  mikesigman
December 14, 2022 10:19 am

The “journalism” courses in all universities these days just churn out pre-conditioned “progressive” narrative boilerplate reproducers.

Such occupations are just screaming out to be the first to be replaced by AI content compilers.

Who would notice any change from what’s being published now?

Tony_G
Reply to  Mr.
December 14, 2022 10:38 am

I think the improvement in the quality of the articles being published would be quite an obvious change.

Vlad the Impaler
December 14, 2022 9:41 am

I need some help here: it seems that in the recent past (say, about twenty years or so), there were one or perhaps two experiments that ended in failure. Fuzzy memory says that either or both (if there were two), were called “BioSphere” or something like that? The premise of the demostration(s) was/(were) that sealed in their own environment, the BioSphere-nauts would be able to grow their own food, have oxygen produced by their agricultural economy, and otherwise be ‘more than’ 100% self-sufficient. There were only a few participants, less than a dozen, I think, and one part of the failure was that a form of ‘tribalism’ developed at a rapid pace. That, and the ‘environment’ was unable to produce enough oxygen for the number of participants (they failed to understand the true source of global oxygen), so in short order, societal chaos became the norm.

Please correct anything I have mis-stated. I’m in my seventies, and only vaguely recall this ridiculous experiment.

Thanks, and my Regards to all,

Vlad

John Hultquist
Reply to  Vlad the Impaler
December 14, 2022 11:43 am
Joe Crawford
Reply to  Vlad the Impaler
December 14, 2022 11:48 am

There is a pretty good article in Esquire magazine on it titled The Biosphere Experiment Sealed Eight People in An Isolated Environment for Two Years (https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a32419584/spaceship-earth-biosphere-true-story/).

Quoting from the article: “The story of what Time magazine later dubbed one of the worst ideas of the 20th century is the subject of the new documentary Spaceship Earth, which is currently streaming on Hulu. Here’s what you should know.

n.n
December 14, 2022 10:38 am

Authoritarianism, Diversity (i.e. class-based bigotry). Redistributive change schemes. Trickle-down economics. Take a knee, beg, good girl. Now get off my island.

John the Econ
December 14, 2022 11:03 am

Of all the avowed socialists I knew in school, absolutely none of them envisioned their futures as one of the “workers”. Many of these people were advocates of a socialist “hunter-gatherer” ideology that would be much better for the planet. Interestingly, almost every person I met with this ideology was positioning themselves for a future in academia instead of as a “hunter” or “gatherer”, which you wouldn’t think would require an advanced degree.

They honestly see their futures as comfortable functionaries living in Panem, while everyone else toils on their behalf in the outlands.

My general response was “What’s holding you back? We already have “hunter-gatherers” thriving in among us. We call them ‘the homeless'”. Naturally, they found this equivocation quite offensive.

Tim Gorman
December 14, 2022 11:45 am

The global economy is structured around growth — the idea that firms, industries and nations must increase production every year,”

This only goes to show the misunderstanding of economics these people have.

-the global economy is structured around meeting peoples needs.
-the global economy focuses on return on investment.
a. Increased productivity provides higher returns for less investment. This is
not economic “growth” as defined here.
-Increasing productivity means having to chew up *fewer* resources not more.
-The only way to cap growth tied to population growth is to cap population growth.

These idiotic elites need to focus on increasing productivity, not capping population growth. That means cheaper, more abundant energy. It means fostering investment that will increase productivity, not squashing it through taxes, ESG, etc.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 14, 2022 11:54 am

Production growth is a response to demand response, which, in part, results from population growth. Now I see the connection.

Denis
December 14, 2022 12:54 pm

“The global economy is structured around growth — the idea that firms, industries and nations must increase production every year, regardless of whether it is needed.” 

Really? Someone supposedly smart and accomplished enough to get a spot in NATURE actually wrote that? The only countries I know of that do that are the Communist countries. Russia, for example, produced the Lada car for years whether anyone wanted it or not. Most wanted a Ford instead. That is the hallmark of any government that decides what the people need instead of the people making such decisions. China is the same. Both experimented with looser more western economies for a time but both are now going back into the mold for reshaping to the old we-will-tell-you-what-you-need standard. Free economies produce stuff based on demand of the people. The economy grows because smart people keep inventing new, or different or cheaper stuff that people want and somebody produces it. The writer of the article should go back to school.

AndyHce
December 14, 2022 1:10 pm

scale down destructive and unnecessary forms of production to reduce energy and material use, and focus economic activity around securing human needs and well-being

All while increasing mineral extraction, energy, material, and land use, at rates, and to extents, never before achieved, in a practice of reducing human security and well being.

MarkH
December 14, 2022 3:52 pm

Konstantin Kisin DESTROYS Communism (https://www.youtube.com/shorts/s_MAm0DeQGE)

Anyone pushing anything even remotely resembling communism (equity, managed economies, etc) are either utterly ignorant of history, or deeply malevolent. These people do not seem to be ignorant of history.

May Contain Traces of Seafood
December 14, 2022 6:05 pm

Ever notice that the sort of people who push Marx type social reform tend to also be the people who cast themselves in the admin/organiser type roles?

Remember, In a Worker’s Paradise YOU are still JUST a worker.

Philip CM
December 14, 2022 8:04 pm

What exactly is the formula for creating prosperity without economic growth?

Those shackled to a dystopian ideal like communism do not create economic growth. Which is why Soviet Russia collapsed, and China created private/public capital economic zones and now, today, is pressuring the US on the global currency front.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Philip CM
December 15, 2022 2:00 pm

Increased productivity is the formula for creating prosperity without economic growth.

Streetcred
December 14, 2022 10:49 pm

Private pension providers rely on stock-market growth dividends for financial returns.
Growth, unit price increases, doesn’t make one iota of difference unless “pension providers” are floor traders … which they overwhelmingly aren’t.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Streetcred
December 15, 2022 2:01 pm

Stock prices aren’t very good at defining economic growth.

Jim Gorman
December 15, 2022 8:35 am

We have brains wired to do things better. Evolution at work. Change and improvement is guaranteed.

insufficientlysensitive
December 15, 2022 11:02 am

These economic turkeys obviously lust after positions in the government – paid by the taxpayers with bloated time off and ‘free’ benefits.

So the first step in de-growth is to clamp on an automatic annual 2% decrease in the number of public employees. But the most important step is to nullify JFK’s exec order enabling unionization of Federal employees, and to return to a standard of paying LESS for a job description than private industry does – since the taxpayer-paid jobs have far greater job security than the evil capitalists grant.

That’ll at least de-growthify the Feds. And the same principle should immediately be applied to State, County and City employees.

These janitorial chores completed, it will be time to end taxpayer support of “non-profits”, and to enjoy the releasing of their overpaid employees back into the economically productive population.

Gunga Din
December 15, 2022 1:39 pm

Did it ever occur to the sheeple that support this stuff that without economic growth the vaults they raid and “redistribute” will eventually be empty?
(Except for the vaults of those who are “more equal” than themselves?)

Jeff Alberts
December 15, 2022 9:13 pm

Yet many industrialized countries are now struggling to grow their economies, given economic convulsions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, resource scarcities and stagnating productivity improvements.”

Economic struggles and resource scarcities are the result of purposeful action (or inaction).

America could be energy independent, and provide cheap, reliable energy to other countries. The only reason we’re not is due to leftist meddling in energy production, and economic growth.

We should have come out of the pandemic 2 years ago, and roared back to the pre-pandemic economy. But the Biden admin did everything they could to stifle it.

Captain Climate
December 16, 2022 3:43 pm

Communism pure and simple. If you’re not growing GDP per person, living standards aren’t improving.

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