Economics for a full world

I remember vividly the first time I came across Herman Daly’s work. It was in a crowded upstairs meeting room in London sometime in 1989 during a presentation on the relative costs of different carbon abatement options. Among the slides on display—acetates and overhead projectors in those days—was one showing Herman Daly and John Cobb’s Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare alongside the GDP. It fascinated me not simply because it illustrated so clearly Daly’s concept of uneconomic growth, but also because it proved to me that it was possible to think in economic terms about economics without falling prey to common ecological follies such as the idea that economic growth is unequivocally good (or indeed even possible in perpetuity on a finite planet).