New Paper in Sustainability

19 08 2019

Our new paper that considers how to advance a universal basic income with a new approach to inclusive capitalism was published in Sustainability. There is an interesting story behind this paper that I will write about in a separate post. More soon …

Universal Basic Income and Inclusive Capitalism: Consequences for Sustainability

Abstract

Over the past forty years, income growth for the middle and lower classes has stagnated, while the economy (and with it, economic inequality) has grown significantly. Early automation, the decline of labor unions, changes in corporate taxation, the financialization and globalization of the economy, deindustrialization in the U.S. and many OECD countries, and trade have contributed to these trends. However, the transformative roles of more recent automation and digital technologies/artificial intelligence (AI) are now considered by many as additional and potentially more potent forces undermining the ability of workers to maintain their foothold in the economy. These drivers of change are intensifying the extent to which advancing technology imbedded in increasingly productive real capital is driving productivity. To compound the problem, many solutions presented by industrialized nations to environmental problems rely on hyper-efficient technologies, which if fully implemented, could further advance the displacement of well-paid job opportunities for many. While there are numerous ways to address economic inequality, there is growing interest in using some form of universal basic income (UBI) to enhance income and provide economic stability. However, these approaches rarely consider the potential environmental impact from the likely increase in aggregate demand for goods and services or consider ways to focus this demand on more sustainable forms of consumption. Based on the premise that the problems of income distribution and environmental sustainability must be addressed in an integrated and holistic way, this paper considers how a range of approaches to financing a UBI system, and a complementary market solution based on an ownership-broadening approach to inclusive capitalism, might advance or undermine strategies to improve environmental sustainability.

Suggested reference: Hall, R.P.; Ashford, R.; Ashford, N.A.; Arango-Quiroga, J. Universal Basic Income and Inclusive Capitalism: Consequences for Sustainability. Sustainability 201911, 4481.





Envisioning the VT Innovation Campus

26 04 2019

Last fall, Virginia Tech announced its plan to build a 1,000,000 square-foot Innovation Campus in Alexandria as part of a larger pitch to bring Amazon’s HQ2 to Northern Virginia. After hearing this news, I started thinking about how this development could be explored in my Spring semester Sustainable Urbanization course.

Around the same time, I was also introduced to UrbanFootprint – a big data urban analytics platform – as an interesting tool for teaching urban sustainability. Combining these two opportunities resulted in a proposal to use UrbanFootprint to study the new Amazon HQ2 and VT Innovation Campus. However, I faced to two challenges with this idea. The first was securing the financial resources to cover the UrbanFootprint license for up to 90 students. The second was finding an appropriate way for the class to engage with the VT Innovation Campus team to make sure that (1) students had access to relevant information and (2) their final products would be of value to the team.

After exploring a couple of funding opportunities, the first challenge was solved when the Urban Affairs and Planning Program (UAP) and the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) kindly agreed to share the cost of a one semester license. In addition, UrbanFootprint agreed to allow over 80 students in the class to use the platform in teams, rather than as individual users, which had not been done on this scale before.

The second challenge was addressed by working closely with Dr Kristie Caddick, the project manager for the VT Innovation Campus. As one might expect, building a 1,000,000 square-foot campus is a formidable challenge and managing such an endeavor requires a dedicated team that was forming at the time I was exploring this idea. Fortunately, the team saw the pedagogical value of challenging our undergraduates to learn more about the project and explore visions of how the campus could be developed.

As with all new ideas, it’s never as easy as you hope. While the funding for the UrbanFootprint license had been secured, it took a patient team of professionals at VT and UrbanFootprint to develop a workable license agreement that was signed the day before classes begun. This delay meant the teaching team were co-learning the platform with the students, which was a little uncomfortable at first, but resulted in a learning environment that was ‘real’ and collaborative.

By the time we reached Spring break, the teaching team had a sufficient handle on the platform that we moved from knowledge/skill-based exercises to a more complex task – to start exploring how the VT Innovation Campus could be built in Alexandria. This task was co-designed with Dr. Caddick, who introduced the students to the history of the VT Innovation Campus and more recent developments via a guest lecture.

Dr. Kristie Caddick talking with students about the VT Innovation Campus

In parallel with their work in UrbanFootprint, students have been searching for best practices of sustainable urbanization in the US and overseas that are now informing their ideas for the VT Innovation Campus. Last week, each of the 16 teams crafted a vision statement for the new campus. Several of the draft statements are shown in the slideshow below, along with a few pictures from several guest lecturers who have joined us this semester.

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On May 7, from 5:00 – 7:00pm, in room 220 of the New Classroom Building at Virginia Tech, 16 teams of students will present their visions for how the VT Innovation Campus could be developed. The presentations will consist of a poster that outlines their vision and development strategies and a live demonstration of how they analyzed the potential impacts of their vision using UrbanFootprint.





Oxford Conference – Feb 8-9, 2019

7 02 2019

On February 8-9, 2019, I will be taking part in a conference at St. Bennet’s Hall, Oxford University, on Endogenous Growth, Participatory Economics, and Inclusive Capitalism. The conference will run from 10:00am to 4:30pm each day and is open to anyone interested in these subjects. I have provided an outline of the conference agenda below.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Welcoming Remarks
Dr. George Bitsakakis, Official Fellow
Director of Studies in Economics at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University

Achieving Fuller Employment and Per Capita Growth by Broadening Capital Acquisition With the Earnings of Capital: A Theoretical Overview
Professor Robert Ashford
Syracuse University

Conference Luncheon

Innovation, Intellectual Property, and Endogenous Growth
Dr. George Bitsakakis, Official Fellow
Director of Studies in Economics at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford University

Simulating Company-Specific Benefit from Broadening Capital Acquisition with the Earnings of Capital
Dr. Shyam Ranganatha, Assistant Professor
Department of Statistics, Virginia Tech

A Game Theoretic Model of Broadening Capital Acquisition with the Earnings of Capital: Prospects of More Inclusive Capital Markets Based on Binary Economics
Michael Kotarinos, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Master of Statistics, University of Florida Department of Statistics, University of South Florida

General Discussion
All Participants and Attendants

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Welcoming Remarks
Dr. George Bitsakakis, Official Fellow
Director of Studies in Economics at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University

Achieving Fuller Employment and Per Capita Growth by Broadening Capital Acquisition With the Earnings of Capital: A Theoretical Overview (Brief Recap)
Professor Robert Ashford
Syracuse University

Inclusive Capitalism and Sustainability
Dr. Ralph P. Hall, Associate Professor
School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech

Conference Luncheon

Robert Ashford’s Inclusive Capitalism: Using Stock Purchase Loans
Professor Demetri Kantarelis (via Skype)
Department of Economics, Assumption College

Robert Ashford’s Approach to Inclusive Capitalism as the Best Available Proposal for Addressing the Problems that Result from Automation
Paul Davidson (via Skype), Founding Editor, Journal of Post Keynesian Economics
Holly Chair of Excellence in Political Economy Emeritus, University of Tennessee

Broadening Capital Acquisition With the Earnings of Capital in China:
An Innovative Means of Promoting Domestic 
Consumption and Economic Growth
Professor Tony Fang, Stephen Jarislowsky Chair in Economic and Cultural Transformation
Department of Economics, Memorial University of Newfoundland

General Concluding Discussion
All Participants and Attendants





Talk on Inclusive Capitalism and Sustainability

7 02 2019

I will be speaking today with Prof. Robert Ashford (from 2-4pm) at Syracuse University’s Faraday House in London, about our ideas related to inclusive capitalism and sustainability. Please come and join us if you would like to learn more about these ideas. The event is open to the public.

Thursday, 7 February, 2019, 2:00 – 4:00 PM,
Faraday House, Syracuse University
48-51 Old Gloucester Street
London WC1N 3AE





Engaging Economies of Change

10 01 2019

This coming May, I will be speaking at the Engaging Economies of Change conference in Waterloo, Canada, on inclusive forms of capitalism. The deadline for abstract submissions is January 18. I have copied the conference themes below for those interested in attending the event.





ADD40 at the 2019 TRB Annual Meeting

22 12 2018

Please find below a list of the sessions and events sponsored or co-sponsored by the ADD40 Committee on Transportation and Sustainability during the 2019 TRB Annual Meeting. The ADD40 committee, subcommittee, and joint-subcommittee meetings are highlighted in orange.

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday





The GreenPreneur Show

21 07 2018

This Sunday (July 22) at 3pm (Central Daylight Time), I look forward to joining Michael Thomas on The GreenPreneur Show to talk about my work on sustainable transportation and sustainable development.

Recordings of previous shows – which cover topics such as Modern-Day Entrepreneurship, Human and Environmental Interactions, Safe Public Drinking Watera Zero Waste Economy, Socially Responsible Investing, a Zero Emission Future, and Eco Friendly Community Development – can be accessed by clicking on the image below.