The Steady State Economy as the Sustainable Alternative to Economic Growth

  • Brian Czech
  • Herman E. Daly


Without cheap, abundant energy to fuel continued economic growth, we are faced with the necessity for an expedited transition to a steady state economy (, accessed 13 January 2014), which most likely will be preceded by a phase of economic degrowth as we adjust to the downward slope from Peak Oil . The phrase “steady state economy” originated from ecological economics , most notably the work of Herman Daly (1973), but its roots are in classical economics, most notably the “stationary state” as touted by John Stuart Mill (1900) . The steady state economy is often discussed in the context of economic growth and the impacts of economic growth on ecological integrity, environmental protection, and economic sustainability. Therefore, use of the phrase “steady state economy” requires a clear definition of economic growth.


Gross Domestic Product Stock Market Ecological Footprint Natural Capital Ecological Integrity 
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This chapter was adapted from Czech B, Daly HE (2004) The steady state economy: What it is, entails, and connotes. Wildlife Society Bulletin 32:598–605; and Czech B (lead author), Tietenberg (topic editor) (2006) Steady state economy. In: Cleveland CJ (ed) Encyclopedia of earth. Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington DC. Accessed 28 Nov 2012.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Advancement of the Steady State EconomyArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.School of Public PolicyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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