Cary Neeper

Writer, Blogger, and Painter -- esteeming life wherever and whatever it might be.

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June 5, 2012

Completing the Picture--Adding Ecological Economics and imperatives to Complexity Economics

A little late with a big Aha--it's time to put together a mini-Bibliography to review the new economical thinking that could save the future.

Start with a general overview of problems with classical economics, economics as a complex system, and the role of government, leaving the How of solving problems to citizens. Be sure to read The Gardens of Democracy by Eric Liu and Eric Hanauer, Seattle, WA: Sasquatch Books, 2011.

For tending the economic garden that has become overgrown, go to and see C.A.S.S.E.'s twelve steps to a no-growth economy--how to get over our obsession with growth and its cause, uncontrolled debt.

For the latter idea and a connection to complex systems, see Gaian Democracies by Roy Madron and John Jopling, Devon UK: Green Books Ltd., Schumacher Society Briefing #9, 2003.

Don't forget to stir into your reading Thomas L. Friedman's Hot, Flat and Crowded, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008 as a reminder that nothing can grow forever.

Related studies are found in Lester R. Brown's Eco-Economy, New York, WW Norton and Co., 2001 and Plan B, 2003.

The moral implications of all this and a scathing critique of classical economics is beautifully covered by Herman E. Daly and John B. Cobb Jr. in For The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment and A Sustainable Future, Boston: Beacon Press, 1994.

Eric D. Beinhocker's The Origin of Wealth, Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2006 covers such a critique and tells good stories that define economics as complex, giving us a huge bibliography and lots of useful notes. However, he fails to talk about how an overused planet is impacted, hugely, given the reality of economic complexity, with its tendency to do unpredictable amplification. Remember 2008.

Finally, for an understanding of complexity, first read Per Bak's How Nature Works: The Science of Self-organized Criticality, New York, Springer-Verlag, 1996, then Thinking In Systems --A Primer by Donella Meadows,VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2008. The newest recommended primers I've found are Deep Simplicity, John Gribbin, New York: Random House, 2004 and Diversity and Complexity, Scott E. Page, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011.

Let's do it.