E3 Network’s Future Economy Initiative

In diverse communities across the US, new economic practices and models are emerging to challenge business-as-usual. These bold experiments in the new economy vary widely and exist across multiple scales, from neighborhood collaborative consumption initiatives, to cooperative financing models, to new social enterprise structures, to regional economic development processes, and more. At their core, these approaches are motivated by and responses to rising social inequality, environmental degradation, and persistent economic decline.

These innovations may forge the foundation for a more resilient and equitable future economy, yet evidence regarding their impact has been mostly anecdotal. E3 Network is launching our Future Economy Initiative to catalyze research by economists on new economy models and innovations. The Initiative’s goal is to create an analytical framework for evaluating the social, economic, and environmental impacts of new economy models and for documenting the variables contributing to their emergence, success, and limitations.

Later this year, E3 Network will announce a competitive request for proposals from economists to apply the new framework to US-based case studies of the new economy. Right now, we invite input from economists interested in helping us to frame the analytical approach and/or identify promising examples of new economy models appropriate for case study analysis. To encourage wider discussion around new economy research, we encourage you to share your input in the form of a blog post (800 words or less) that we will post here on the E3 blog. Please comment below and send your blog entry or other suggestions via email to director@e3network.org. You can also find us on twitter at @e3network – let the conversation begin!

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Towards an Environmentally Just Climate Policy

By Noah Enelow

In the face of the political gridlock impeding the U.S. government’s progress towards a smart climate policy, independent researchers and activists are continuing to make progress on outlining what such a policy might look like and how we might get there. James K. Boyce and Manuel Pastor have provided us with the latest contribution to the climate policy research effort with their recent article in Climatic Change, entitled “Clearing the air: Incorporating air quality and environmental justice into climate policy.”

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The Resilience of Detroit

The following is the introduction to the E3 Network white paper, The Resilience of Detroit: An Application of the Adaptive Cycle Metaphor to an American Metropolis by Noah Enelow.

An abandoned house in the Brightmoor district of Detroit, turned into a community center by the neighborhood organization.
Photo by Sam Beebe.

On Thursday, July 18th, 2013, the City of Detroit made U.S. history with the largest municipal bankruptcy in the country to date. Approximately $18 billion in size, it dwarfed the second-largest, Jefferson County, Alabama, by a factor of four. “There is no road map for Detroit’s recovery,” declared the New York Times. Reductions in city services, cuts in benefits and pensions for public sector workers, and reduced borrowing capacity are sure to follow.

Yet this single dramatic event conceals a more complex, variegated, and hopeful reality on the ground in the Motor City. To use a well-worn metaphor, in Detroit flowers are clearly growing through the cracks in the pavement. Continue reading…


Limits to Growth – of What?

By James K. Boyce. Originally posted on Triple Crisis.

Average national income is a notoriously imperfect measure of the average person’s well-being. The 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – with clean-up and damage costs of $90 billion – added about $300 to the average American’s “income.” But it added nothing to our well-being. The world’s most expensive prison system, costing almost $40 billion per year, adds another $125 per person. This doesn’t make us better-off than people living in countries that don’t incarcerate one in every 100 adults.

Of course, national income includes many good things, too. Growing food and building homes add to national income. So does public spending on education and health care. Unlike oil spills and jails, these really do add to our well-being.

 

National Income:The Good, the Bad, and the Useless

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Guest Blog Posts

Economics for Equity and the Environment Network is a national network of economists developing new and better arguments for protecting people and the planet. Through applied research and public engagement, we seek to improve decision making and further understanding of the relationship between economy and ecology. If you are an economist who shares our vision of an applied, relevant, and realistic economics that is committed to social equity and environmental sustainability at its core, we invite you to join the E3 Network.

Our blog features essays and commentaries by E3 Network economists and those aligned with the mission of the E3 Network. It is great opportunity to share your latest research, findings, and expert opinions. If you would like to contribute, please send us your piece for consideration.


Uncovering the Real Cost of Carbon

By  and Thomas Sterner. Originally posted on EDF Voices.

Last week, the Obama administration released new energy efficiency standards for microwaves, along with an update to the government’s official Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) figure. What do those two things have to do with each other? Well, the efficiency standards will help the planet by cutting the energy needs of microwaves, which will in turn save consumers money. And the new SCC numbers show just how expensive our addiction to fossil fuels has become.

The SCC is used to estimate the damages from carbon emissions (and the benefits from reducing those emissions) for the purposes of regulatory benefit-cost analyses. The central estimate for the SCC is now around $35 per ton of carbon dioxide pollution emitted today.

That’s the administration’s estimate of the damage—to human health, ecosystems, and the economy—caused by every ton of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. The average American emits about 20 tons each year.

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Secret Climate Cost Calculations: The Sequel

By Frank Ackerman

Three years later, it was time for a new episode.  Back in 2010, Congress listened to some climate-denial rants, counted votes, and decided to do absolutely nothing about climate change; this year on Capitol Hill, the magic continues.

Also in 2010, the Obama administration released an estimate of “the social cost of carbon”` (SCC) – that is, the value of the damages done by emission of one more ton of carbon dioxide. Calculated by an anonymous task force that held no public hearings and had no office, website, or named participants, the SCC was released without fanfare as, literally, Appendix 15A to a Department of Energy regulation on energy efficiency standards for small motors.

This year, the Obama administration updated the SCC calculation. The update was done by an anonymous task force that held no public hearings, and had no office, website, or named participants. It first appeared as – yes! – Appendix 16A to a Department of Energy regulation on energy efficiency standards for microwave ovens. Continue reading…