The Steady State Economy Conference

Workshop 10: Global Issues

Question: With increasing globalisation in recent decades, what measures would an individual country need to take if it wished to move to a steady state economy? What are the implications of a steady state economy for developing countries?

Why: The transition towards a global steady state economy should begin in wealthy, developed nations such as the UK, where the costs of further economic growth outweigh the benefits. However, if the UK were to adopt a steady state economy as a national goal, and begin internalising environmental and social costs which other countries are not, UK products could become more expensive than those produced in growth-based economies. Furthermore, investment capital could flee the country due to fears of lower profits, if actions were not taken to prevent this happening.

A shift to a steady state economy would mean lower resource use, and greater self-reliance for the UK, which is currently a large net importer of goods. This could have an effect on developing countries that are following a model of export-led growth, requiring these countries to make adjustments as well.

How: Some approaches that have been proposed to allow a single country to make the transition to a steady state economy include: compensating tariffs to protect efficient national policies of cost-internalization, restrictions on capital mobility, and increased localisation.

Marco Sakai    Marco Sakai (Speaker)

Marco has an eclectic background. Apart from being a professional economist, he has been involved in cinema, was a magazine editor and is a fiction writer. He has worked in the private sector, in the Ministry of Finance (Mexico) and has taught several courses at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He received a BA in Economics from this university, an MSc in Ecological Economics from the University of Leeds, and is currently a PhD candidate at the Sustainability Research Institute (Leeds). He is examining, in conjunction with the Stockholm Environment Institute, how changes in consumption in rich nations might affect the ability of poor countries to develop in a sustainable manner.

Oriel Kenny

   Oriel Kenny (Chair)

Oriel is a Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University. Her research interests include civil society engagement, community participation, rural sustainability and gender relations in global north and south. She previously worked at grassroots level in northern Kenya with local government and International Non-Government Organisations (INGOs) and for the UK Department For International Development (DFID) attached to a Bolivian/UK agricultural research institution researching small farmers’ experiences with cover crops and livestock alternatives to slash and burn in the eastern Amazon. Prior to Leeds Met, Oriel lectured at the Bradford Centre for International Development (BCID), University of Bradford, where she also undertook short-term research/consultancy assignments in Ghana, Nicaragua, Chile, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa.

Tim Foxon    Tim Foxon (Rapporteur)

Tim Foxon is a Research Councils UK Academic Fellow in the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds, and a member of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy. His research explores technological and social factors relating to innovation and up-take of new energy technologies and the analysis of the co-evolution of technologies, institutions and business strategies for a transition to a low carbon economy. He is co-investigator on projects examining “Transition pathways to a low carbon economy,” supported by EPSRC and E.On UK; “Future Energy Decision Making for Cities,” supported by EPSRC; and leader of an ESRC research seminar series on “Complexity economics for sustainability.”

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