Real Progressives

Episode 154 – Sustainability: The New Economics with Stephen Williams and Phil Lawn

Stephen Williams and Philip Lawn join Steve to discuss the forthcoming book, Sustainability and the New Economics: Synthesising Ecological Economics and Modern Monetary Theory, which Williams co-edited. The book brings together sustainability, ecological economics, and MMT.

As you learn more and more about this thing called sustainability, you realize that it’s really the economic system that is at the heart of the problem. It’s the economic system you have to change. So when you start studying what we usually call heterodox economics, you soon start to learn about something called ecological economics, which Phil is an expert in. And then you start to hear about this other thing called Modern Monetary Theory. And it turns out these two things are completely complementary, and you need both of them.

The volume is a collection of work by 15 authors or so, all with expertise in different areas, including the relationship between climate change and health impacts, planetary boundaries, sustainable development goals, and law. The book contains chapters by friends of this podcast — Professor Steve Keen, who looks at the way mainstream economics has perverted the IPCC process, Steven Hail who wrote the chapter on MMT, and Phil Lawn, whose work ties the whole thing together by connecting ecological economics and MMT. In fact, according to Williams, he was the inspiration for the entire project. There is no other book with a focus on this connection.

They explain the extent of the current mess, the post WWII Anthropocene, and examine how we got here, including the birth of neoliberalism, the fossil fuel industry, the publication of the “Limits to Growth” report, (which Steve Keen has talked about in a previous episode of this podcast), and more. Once they’ve laid out the past and the present, they look to the future: where do we go from here?

How do we design a safe and prosperous future? That essentially means what new economic system could we bring in to replace the current failed economic system? Hey, there’s nothing more dangerous than a bad idea. And mainstream economics is a terrible idea.

Stephen Williams, from Australia, has a long background in newspaper journalism and a short background in law. His lifelong obsession is the issue of designing societies for maximum well-being and sustainability. This has led him to the study of heterodox economics as an essential suite of tools. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming collected volume, Sustainability and the New Economics: Synthesising Ecological Economics and Modern Monetary Theory(Springer International, 2022).

Based in Adelaide, Philip Lawn is an evidence-based economist and Adjunct Professor at Torrens University, Philip is also research fellow with the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and a member of the Wakefield Futures Group (South Australia). He is the author and editor of eight books on sustainable development, climate change, and the steady-state economy, and has 55 journal articles and more than 40 book chapters to his name. Philip makes speaking appearances at public events/debates and is regularly invited to deliver keynote and plenary presentations at academic conferences.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

Share this Episode

Follow the show and subscribe on your favorite player.

Stephen Williams and Philip Lawn join Steve to discuss the forthcoming book, Sustainability and the New Economics: Synthesising Ecological Economics and Modern Monetary Theory, which Williams co-edited. The book brings together sustainability, ecological economics, and MMT.

As you learn more and more about this thing called sustainability, you realize that it’s really the economic system that is at the heart of the problem. It’s the economic system you have to change. So when you start studying what we usually call heterodox economics, you soon start to learn about something called ecological economics, which Phil is an expert in. And then you start to hear about this other thing called Modern Monetary Theory. And it turns out these two things are completely complementary, and you need both of them.

The volume is a collection of work by 15 authors or so, all with expertise in different areas, including the relationship between climate change and health impacts, planetary boundaries, sustainable development goals, and law. The book contains chapters by friends of this podcast — Professor Steve Keen, who looks at the way mainstream economics has perverted the IPCC process, Steven Hail who wrote the chapter on MMT, and Phil Lawn, whose work ties the whole thing together by connecting ecological economics and MMT. In fact, according to Williams, he was the inspiration for the entire project. There is no other book with a focus on this connection.

They explain the extent of the current mess, the post WWII Anthropocene, and examine how we got here, including the birth of neoliberalism, the fossil fuel industry, the publication of the “Limits to Growth” report, (which Steve Keen has talked about in a previous episode of this podcast), and more. Once they’ve laid out the past and the present, they look to the future: where do we go from here?

How do we design a safe and prosperous future? That essentially means what new economic system could we bring in to replace the current failed economic system? Hey, there’s nothing more dangerous than a bad idea. And mainstream economics is a terrible idea.

Stephen Williams, from Australia, has a long background in newspaper journalism and a short background in law. His lifelong obsession is the issue of designing societies for maximum well-being and sustainability. This has led him to the study of heterodox economics as an essential suite of tools. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming collected volume, Sustainability and the New Economics: Synthesising Ecological Economics and Modern Monetary Theory(Springer International, 2022).

Based in Adelaide, Philip Lawn is an evidence-based economist and Adjunct Professor at Torrens University, Philip is also research fellow with the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and a member of the Wakefield Futures Group (South Australia). He is the author and editor of eight books on sustainable development, climate change, and the steady-state economy, and has 55 journal articles and more than 40 book chapters to his name. Philip makes speaking appearances at public events/debates and is regularly invited to deliver keynote and plenary presentations at academic conferences.

Scroll to Top Skip to content