Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Third Millennium Economy (3ME)

The Third Millennium Economy (3ME)

Third Millennium Economy

Click here to download the paper.
Economics, Finance, Governance, and Ethics for the Anthropocene
We are pleased to present this working paper of the Third Millennium Economy Project: Economics, Finance, Governance, and Ethics for the Anthropocene. Released in advance of the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the paper is an effort to build consenus around an alternative to the green economy thinking pervasive in the global negotiations around our ecological crises. The authors of the report make the case for a new economics, finance, governance, and ethics that are grounded in a respect for all life and based on the findings of modern planetary science.
Also, importantly, the report is intended to be a living document and only the first step in a process that brings together scholars from around the world to engage in assessing our current situation and envisioning the path to a flourishing future for life on Earth. We want to hear your thoughts. (Submit all comments to Peter Brown at
The Third Millennium Economy Project:
The Third Millennium Economy project is an initiative of the Capital Lab. It is intended to construct a roadmap of where we are and where we need to get to in order to transition to a truly sustainable economic system. Unlike many conversations about sustainable economics, this initiative is grounded in the scientific understanding of the world's leading ecologists about the planetary boundaries that a sustainable economy needs to respect. Capital Institute is honored to be a contributor to and sponsor of this important work.
A profound cognitive transition is taking place as we come to grips with the implications of the ecological boundaries of our finite planet. We must shift from the reductionist world view of the Enlightenment to a new systemic world view that understands reality as complex, interdependent systems in which the whole cannot be understood as the sum of the parts. The implications for the human economy, its institutions, the financial system that fuels it, our systems of governance, and indeed our sense of what it means to live a good life are all on the table for examination.
The Third Millennium Economy Steering Committee includes: Peter Brown, Graciela Chichilnisky, John Fullerton, Tim Jackson, William Rees, Juliet Schor, Gus Speth, and Peter Victor.
This project is funded by generous grant from the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation
Some comment by Hazel Henderson
Hazel Henderson

Great to read this draft and see so many of our Canadian friends riding to the rescue !
I remember while I was a full time science policy wonk in Washington ( NSF , OTA and Nat. Academy of engineering from 1974-1980 ) I was able to bring the great reports of Canada's Science Council, particularly those on The Conserver Society to the attention of members of the US Congress .
Today, sadly the US is still struggling to overcome the defunct ideologies of economics and the theory-induced blindness promoted by the Chicago School. My later work with the Canadian National Roundtable on the Economy and Environment enabled me to present our Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators there in Toronto in 2000,( the first systems approach to measuring national " progress' beyond macroeconomics , using the now familiar web-based " dashboard " with multi-disciplinary indicators unbundled for public understanding). I am currently on the Advisory Board of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing , which might be mentioned, as it is a far more rigorous approach than the rash of fashionable but culturally-biased" happiness " approaches . So I still worry that trying to adapt macroeconomic modelling to the whole systems transition we are undergoing, will continue to be a waste of time and money.
The chapter by John Fullerton on Finance is welcome , since economics has managed to ignore the role of finance for too long. I would like more discussion of the fatal flaws of compound interest , which I discussed in my Politics of the Solar Age ( 1981, 1986) as a dangerous mathematical abstraction counter to the Second Law of Thermodynamics , with hugely -destructive effects on ecosystems, beyond the issue of discount rates. Also, the issue of the politics of money-creation and credit allocation as the flywheel of the inequality and ecological devastation today needs to be covered. Nor did I find any solid policy proposals already gaining traction, , e.g. financial transaction taxes , such as we of the WorldShift Council proposed to the G-20 in Mexico June 19th. However , I'm happy John has taken up this reform , as well as that of public banking ( see the Public Banking Institute on whose advisory Board I serve ). I also hope you can add a reference to the Ethical Markets- Capital Institute Statement crafted here in 2010 on TRANSFORMING FINANCE , and join me, John, Graciela Chichilnisky and all the other global experts who joined us in signing it at
Other issues , such as the proposals for countries to use Chapter 9 for declaring bankruptcy , and other reforms of the international agencies , the UN , the IFIs which I discussed in my Beyond Globalization ,
( 1999) and offered by many others since then , including those of my erstwhile currency trader friend T. Ross Jackson ( another Canadian ! ) in his OCCUPY WORLD STREET ( 2012) , to which I wrote the Foreword , might also be referenced .
And references to the work of Kenneth Boulding , Nicholas Georgescu -Roegen , Barbara Ward and E.F. Schumacher , all my dear departed friends , as well as Joan Robinson , who won the debate of the Two Cambridges by pointing out that those at Harvard could not define " capital " ! This would be a nice gesture acknowledging that we all stand on the shoulders of these earlier pioneers

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