Guest Post by Charles Pierce: An Introduction to "Economics for a Round Earth"

I am excited to be introducing my first guest blogger, Charles Pierce! He will be back later this week to talk about the current economic situation, but for today I asked him to introduce his book, first published in 1988 and revised and republished as a blog this year. Here is his introduction.

The title derived from my belief that traditional economics assumes a flat world of unlimited resources, where new stuff to consume can always be found somewhere and wastes and pollutants just go ‘away’ somewhere.

I wanted to set forth the idea of a ’round earth’ economics, based on the reality of the Earth as a limited dynamic life-supporting system. Human beings can do a lot within these limits, but only so much. There must be a limit to everything, and the world economy should be regulated to stay within the limits that the Earth allows.

I found it necessary for this ’round earth’ economics, that many terms needed to be examined, properly understood and redefined. These terms included wealth, production, growth, affluence, resources.

I introduce mathematical concepts of quantities and rates of change into the discussion.

I redefine wealth as not just money or goods, but the raw materials whose processing generates goods and services and gives money its value.

I replace the term ‘production’ with ‘throughput’ because wealth is not being produced, it is being processed into goods and services and waste products whence wealth, resources, may be regenerated.

I redefine economic growth as increasing wealth, i.e. resources. Currently growth is defined as increasing production, but production is actually throughput, so what we currently call ‘economic growth’ is renamed throughput-increase.

I offer a new word, perfluence, meaning wealth flowing through, as a replacement for affluence, which implies wealth flowing to.

People ask, should we in this time of economic crisis, put environmental problems like global warming on the back burner and concentrate on promoting economic health and well-being?

My book answers that by pointing out that economic health and well-being are absolutely dependent on the health and well-being of our planetary environment, and if we neglect or degrade that then we are damaging the world economy too.

The book offers hope for the future. Yes, we can survive and prosper, it’s not all gloom and doom, but there’s work to be done.

The blog may be found at

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