Looks like AIG, like Freddie and Fannie, should have spent some of the money they wasted on advertising to improve corporate management and risk analysis.

On 8 Sept we posted a note on this Blog titled “HIGH NOON FOR ENTERPRISE SOCIALISM.” Turns out it was only a little past 8 AM. The lesson from AIG is that if you are big enough to hurt a lot of folks and endanger the political party in power, you are big enough for the feds to bail out. So much for a market economy and a “conservative” administration.

Back in March we wrote a column at titled “Good New, Bad Reporting.” The column did more that beat on MainStream Media for putting the wrong spin on the “news” and failing to provide the background citizens must have to understand the need for Fundamental Transformation in not just human settlement patterns but in governance including management of the economy.

Citizens need to move in the direction of a human scale, not just in settlement patterns but in every aspect of economic, social and physical activity. No one in any Agency, Enterprise or Institution is larger than human scale, although there are far too many with appetites, egos, hubris and greed that is Global.

One of the few Institutions in the Commonwealth that is considering the right set of questions is ASAP ( in Cville. On Monday 20 October they are hosting the president of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE at ).

The end of Mass OverConsumption is near. What is the alternative in addition to functional human settlement patterns? Small is Beautiful. A steady state economy is an imperative.


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  1. Jim Bacon Avatar

    I agree with you, Ed. The era of mass overconsumption, which has characterized the U.S. economy since the end of World War II, is on its last legs. I’m just hoping that the “solutions” devised by the political class to address the excess leverage and risk taking don’t make the problems even worse.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Not quite so fast. The Tysons Land Use Task Force has filed its plan (or at least a draft of its plan) for Tysons Corner with Fairfax County. The TLUTF is seeking New York-style density on the backs of taxpayers and Dulles Toll Road Users.

    From the summary of the 8/18 TLUTF meeting. “Brenda Krieger asked that the text be revised to make it clear that developers will not be required to pay for all amenities. Rather, amenities will be associated with higher densities and will be funded through a range of sources.” Gee, I wonder whose pockets are being considered to be the “range of sources.”

    Ms. Krieger is no worse than anyone else. She’s just trying to get taxpayers to foot many of the costs associated with her client’s attempt to obtain massive increases in density. (This is NOT an attempt to build to right, but an attempt to move to FARs as high as 7.8 (including bonsuses)).

    What boggles my mind is the notion that the MSM is so wedded to the goal of higher taxes that it regularly misses robberbaron stories.

    Much of the financial sector (and the real estate sector in VA) is geared to privatize gains, while spreading losses to the general taxpayer.

    Nothing has changed!


  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Who is this “we” you speak of? Do you have a mouse in your pocket?


  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Casse is a fascinating organization. I seem to remember such an organization from long ago, but hadn;t heard about them for awhile.

    They ask the right questions, like “How much growth is enough?” and “Why is economic growth a threat to the environment?” They are
    fundamentally correct in saying things like “pollution is an inevitable byproduct of economic production” and that even a green economy cannot grow without harm. They recognize Jevon’s paradox and conced that the trade off between green technology and economic growth is a zero sum game.

    However, they seem to operate from the presumption that they know the answers. They are staffed with ecological economists and not with environmental economists. These two disciplines work from different ethical perspectives, and the end results will be different even as they tend to converge.

    The CASSE view seems to ignore the ethical considerations of the conclusins they reach. They believe the economy exists within the ecosystem. This implies that the ecosystem holds a superior place (has more rights).

    The problem, of course, is that people exist within both the ecosystem and the economy. Curbing both of them to protect the ecosystem results, just as EMR has noted in fewer people using less stuff.

    Practically speaking, that is a hard sell. As Bubberella points out, “Who is this “we” you are talking about”.

    Ethically speaking, we haven’t begun to crack that egg. One commentator on such views said that, using their premises, one could conclude that Hitler was the greatest environmentlist in the world, because he prevented so many eco-system fouling people. (Not my view, honest.)

    CASSE touches on this subject but ignores the ramification when they describe what a steady state economy would look like: “We would have our current population…” Obviously that implies some kind of birth controls, and a whole string of other ethical considerations.

    CASSE sounds vere similar to EMR when they say “A steady state economy can exist in a constitutional, capitalist democracy with an educated citizenry.” A self disproving affirmation without evidence. The last one, an educated citizenry, is fraught with problems: educated according to whom? Let alone the fact that we’ve never done it in the past. How you balance capitalism with zero growth is a real question in my mind, except that, with zero growth it is a lot easier to define property and allow trades. There just isn’t any gain in it, except at the expense of someone else.

    They take the conflicitng positions that there is a fundamental conflict between economic growth and environmental protection AND that increasing per capita consumption in impoverished nations remains an appropriate goal. How would YOU assume that could be accomplished in a zero sum game?

    CASSE advocates careful scientific explorations as to the real limits of economic growth, but given their precepts and the kind of scientists they attract, they are unlikely to find the best answer. They appear to be more than willing to give the ecology a wide margin of error, which by their own precepts means that more goods will be available to fewer people.

    I believe they are generally on the right track, but they are glossing over or sugarcoating the inevitable results. The combined conclusions of their beliefs will not go down easy, hence the difficulty in the appropriate “education”.

    “Society would have to curb some conspicuous consumption and superfluous investment, but the freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness go hand in hand with the steady state economy.”

    Translation: it is a public good, and we will all be happier if you make do with less. Trust me, you can still live, be free, and be happy with us defining your limits.


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