The Future Economy: Synthesis and Lessons Learned from Six Case Studies

Robin Hahnel, Noah Enelow, Eban Goodstein, Thomas Michael Power and Juliet Schor

Many see “business-as-usual” (BAU) economics (Schor 2010) failing us in ever more ways: Inequality of income and wealth continues to increase, financial crises and recessions are increasingly problematic, and critical ecosystems are being destabilized. But at the same time, we see more and more economic initiatives that deviate from BAU in important ways: They tend to share a commitment to positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes. Related campaigns and positive press have worked to increase popular awareness about these non- traditional efforts while providing needed encouragement and support. Economics for Equity and the Environment (the E3 Network) wanted to bring these developments to the attention of economists who have largely ignored them and begin the process of studying “future economy initiatives” in a more systematic and scientific way. We sought to understand the histories of these initiatives, evaluate their impacts, and assess their potential for scaling and replication, thereby forging the foundations of a future economy. 

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