With regard to ownership the community owns all resources and such things as houses and transport systems. This does not mean that individuals and families would not have a long lasting attachment with particular areas though a leasehold type of arrangement
With regard to technological innovation this will be focussed on continued improvements in such things as energy supply for local use. Small scale solar, water and wind will supply community needs - eventually no vast systems of towers, poles and wires.
Finally, in the steady state the military will have been made redundant by the development of environmental security. In other words real security not the opposite which acts to maintain access to resources to maintain economic growth.
PROGRESS WITH THE STEADY STATE ECONOMY SOLUTION
Unfortunately, there has been little progress in persuading politicians and the media to give serious consideration to the steady state economy proposal. This is in spite of the fact that the idea has been in existence since being first explained by philosopher John Stuart Mill in 1848 and in spite of the ever growing evidence of the negative effects of economic growth on the physical and social environments these politicians and their governments are more committed to it than ever before. They want an ever-bigger slice of the poison pie.
THE ENVIRONMENT MOVEMENT AND THE STEADY STATE ECONOMY
Today the environment movement devotes most of its time to investigating the damage and endeavouring to limit its effects - countering the effects of economic growth while ignoring the cause. Mainly it focuses on such things as measures to control climate change and trying to reduce the impact of resource development on the natural environment with current efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef from coal export being a good example. The movement is highly specialised in what the groups deal with and is not always good at cooperation. In effect because the cause does not go away it is a 'band aid approach'. The environment movement from its many situation and trend studies has certainly identified the Endless Economic Growth syndrome as the main cause of environmental degradation but it has put little effort into devising and working for an alternative system.
Overall, I believe this focus on damage control by all, including the environment movement, is helping to extend the life of the economic growth system. It does this by suggesting we can manage their effects in this way, that this is something we can live with. It is helping to postpone the day when the switch will need to be made and, because the pace of environmental degradation is accelerating, is ensuring that the task will be much more difficult when it is finally addressed.
This situation in the environment movement is obviously a major obstacle to the change to the Steady State Economy and needs to be urgently addressed. So what can be done? The movement needs to do two things: 1. make community adoption of the steady state economy their major objective; and 2. help the community work towards it in a well planned way.
In other words by all means keep on protecting your environment against the damage being created by our economic growth systems. This is essential but will achieve little in the long run unless we put our major effort into making the change to a non-damaging steady state economy system.
To achieve the twin goals of sustainability and equality there will need to be some very major adjustments to how people live. Taking a short cut one could say simply that everything to do with resource use and social interaction will eventually be the opposite of today but I think we need to think carefully about how we go about making the change. To transform to a steady state economy we need to check each step contemplated against the principles or goals. I have mentioned. We also need to carefully consider whether what is contemplated is something that will enhance the move to a steady state by removing those measures which have been developed to facilitate economic growth such as capitalism, free trade, fossil fuel exploitation and wage inequalities. So, understanding the relationship between ends and means in the economic growth and steady state alternatives is very important for this process.
Obviously, even when we decide to work for a steady state economy in a serious way it is not going to happen in the near future. As a result the important thing is for us to focus on the changes that will help bring it about. There will, of course, need to be considerable efforts in the field of rehabilitation including the reclamation and recycling of cities and we will need to deal with the massive over population that is going to be with us for a long time to come.
To achieve sustainable trade
Since international trade plays a major role in facilitating economic growth this is something that warrants immediate serious attention. We need to end globalisation and introduce measures that place penalties on both dangerous and unwarranted exports and imports. For instance:
a) phase out Australia's exports of fossil fuels beginning with coal;
b) install a high tariff on any product we are capable of producing ourselves eg. fruit and cars. (Australia was for a time a net importer of fruit); and
c) do not enter into new free trade agreements and dismantle existing ones.
To achieve stable populations:
a) end the incentives aimed at increasing family size/provide incentives for small families;
b) provide greater assistance to prevent unwanted pregnancies; and
c) introduce a zero net migration policy (the same number of immigrants as permanent departures).
In general this problem will be solved when populations are reduced to levels that match the long term capacity of where people live.
To achieve a greater level of living within our means and re-localisation:
a) sponsor sustainable (environmentally friendly) local energy supply systems independent of the national grid;
b) achieve genuine substitution of renewable for fossil fuel energy supply;
c) reduce the size and resource demands of cities by firmly adhering to long term plans which provide for no further growth;
d) limit water supply to the catchment where the community is located and phase out use of past diversions, rely to a greater extent on roof tanks and local springs (from rechargeable aquifers);
e) abandon plans for further road infrastructure which will lead to greater vehicle usage and give far greater priority to development of public transport and walking/cycling networks;
f) introduce congestion charges on private car use in cities and put the money into public transport development.;
g) improve teaching about the environment in schools and universities to improve understanding and facilitate re-coupling. Obviously those current sectors in education aimed at training people for business careers will eventually be redundant; and
h) With the reduction in population there will gradually be a vast amount of material for salvage. As far as possible this should be reused rather than reprocessed.
For improved peace and security:
a) phase out all nuclear weapons over a fixed period;
b) systematically reduce the size of armed forces, converting them into conservation corps; and
c) help other nations achieve self sufficiency free from the distortions of international trade, with overseas aid focussing on projects which assist transition to a steady state economy.
To improve the communities control of their destinies:
a) end foreign ownership of land and resources (carry out buyback schemes);
b) end private enterprise/public private partnership arrangements for building and running public infrastructure and services (water and energy supply, road and rail transport, etc) through nationalisation;
c) end tax deductibility for advertising (which tends to encourage over consumption);
d) encourage and assist people with the growing of their own food, collecting their own water and generating their own electricity;
e) nationalise the banks and do away with the use of money for any purpose other than exchange of goods and services; community owned banks providing zero interest credit for sustainability measures might well be part of the transition; and
f) shorten the working week and lengthen leave entitlements.