Ashford, N. A., & Hall, R. P. (2018). Technology, globalization, and sustainable development: Transforming the industrial state (Revised Edition). Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. 804 pages. ISBN 9781138605534
Ashford, N. A., & Hall, R. P. (2011). Technology, globalization, and sustainable development: Transforming the industrial state. Yale University Press. 752 pages. ISBN: 9780300169720


  • 2013 Excellence in Scholarship Award from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS), Virginia Tech
  • 2012 Green Book Festival – Winner – Best Business Book: Technology, Globalization and Sustainable

Journal Articles

Ashford, N. A., Hall, R. P., Arango-Quiroga, J., Metaxas, K. A., & Showalter, A. L. (2020). Addressing Inequality: The First Step Beyond COVID-19 and Towards Sustainability. Sustainability, 12(13), 5404.

Keywords: COVID-19, earning capacity, environment, essential goods and services, future of work, inequality, labor, safety net, universal basic income, sustainable development goals (SDGs), sustainability.


Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted billions of lives across the world and has revealed and worsened the social and economic inequalities that have emerged over the past several decades. As governments consider public health and economic strategies to respond to the crisis, it is critical they also address the weaknesses of their economic and social systems that inhibited their ability to respond comprehensively to the pandemic. These same weaknesses have also undermined efforts to advance equality and sustainability. This paper explores over 30 interventions across the following nine categories of change that hold the potential to address inequality, provide all citizens with access to essential goods and services, and advance progress towards sustainability: (1) Income and wealth transfers to facilitate an equitable increase in purchasing power/disposable income; (2) broadening worker and citizen ownership of the means of production and supply of services, allowing corporate profit-taking to be more equitably distributed; (3) changes in the supply of essential goods and services for more citizens; (4) changes in the demand for more sustainable goods and services desired by people; (5) stabilizing and securing employment and the workforce; (6) reducing the disproportionate power of corporations and the very wealthy on the market and political system through the expansion and enforcement of antitrust law such that the dominance of a few firms in critical sectors no longer prevails; (7) government provision of essential goods and services such as education, healthcare, housing, food, and mobility; (8) a reallocation of government spending between military operations and domestic social needs; and (9) suspending or restructuring debt from emerging and developing countries. Any interventions that focus on growing the economy must also be accompanied by those that offset the resulting compromises to health, safety, and the environment from increasing unsustainable consumption. This paper compares and identifies the interventions that should be considered as an important foundational first step in moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and towards sustainability. In this regard, it provides a comprehensive set of strategies that could advance progress towards a component of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 to reduce inequality within countries. However, the candidate interventions are also contrasted with all 17 SDGs to reveal potential problem areas/tradeoffs that may need careful attention.

Hall, R. P., Ashford, R., Ashford, N. A., & Arango-Quiroga, J. (2019). Universal Basic Income and Inclusive Capitalism: Consequences for Sustainability. Sustainability, 11(16), 4481.

Keywords: Universal Basic Income (UBI), effective demand, inequality, environment, sustainability, inclusive capitalism, binary economics, capital ownership, fuller employment, worker ownership.


The story behind the paper.

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.

Ashford, N. A., & Hall, R. P. (2018). Achieving Global Climate and Environmental Goals by Governmental Regulatory Targeting. Ecological Economics, 152, 246–259.

Keywords: Sustainable development, strategic niche management, transition management, regulation-induced innovation, disrupting innovation, radical innovation, incremental innovation, diffusion.

PlumX Metrics

Abstract: Strategic niche management and transition management have been promoted as useful avenues to pursue in order to achieve both specific product or process changes and system transformation by focusing on technology development through evolutionary and co-evolutionary processes, guided by government and relevant stakeholders. However, these processes are acknowledged to require decades to achieve their intended changes, a timeframe that is too long to adequately address many of the environmental and social issues many industrialized and industrializing nations are facing. An approach that involves incumbents and does not consider targets that look beyond reasonably foreseeable technology is likely to advance a model where incumbents evolve rather than being replaced or displaced. On the other hand, approaches that focus on creating new entrants could nurture niche development or deployment of disruptive technologies, but those technologies may only be marginally better than the technologies they replace. Either approach may take a long time to achieve their goals. Sustainable development requires both radical disruptive technological and institutional changes, the latter including stringent regulation, the integration of disparate goals, and changes in incentives to enable new voices to contribute to new systems and solutions. This paper outlines options for a strong governmental role in setting future sustainability goals and the pathways for achieving them.

Ashford, R., Hall, R. P., & Ashford, N. A. (2017). Koncepcja binary approach jako instrument kształtowania zrównoważonego wzrostu. Ruch Prawniczy, Ekonomiczny i Socjologiczny 4, 191-201.

Abstract (translated): This article focuses on the binary economics and explains how the approach can enhance not only capital earning capacity but also demand for employment and the prospect for achieving environmental sustainability. The binary economic approach envisions an implementation of an ownership-broadening system of corporate finance that world require no taxes, redistribution, or government command. Corporations would be free to continue to meet their capital requirements as before, but they would have an additional, potentially more profitable, market means to do so.

Ashford, N. A., Hall, R. P., & Ashford, R. H. (2012). The crisis in employment and consumer demand: Reconciliation with environmental sustainability. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 2, 1–22.

Keywords: Earning capacity, employment, innovation, regulation, sustainable development, sustainable livelihoods.

PlumX Metrics

Abstract: This paper argues that a sustainable industrial system depends not only on good environmental and public health outcomes, but also on adequate employment and earning capacity in a well-functioning and equitable economic system. These concerns are likely to dominate future national political debates, requiring responses that increase the earning capacity of individuals through changes in the nature of work and employment, and in the ownership of productive capital. Making the economy greener, while certainly necessary for long-term economic and societal survival, does not necessarily mean more and better paying jobs on a large enough scale to make serious progress to reducing unemployment and underemployment. At present, national and global reforms are focused on improving the financial system, which is not synonymous with reforming the economic system or improving the economic status of individual citizens. This paper discusses specific policies and initiatives that need to be considered to ensure sustainable employment and livelihoods.

Ashford, N. A., & Hall, R. P. (2011). The Importance of Regulation-Induced Innovation for Sustainable Development. Sustainability, 3(1), 270–292.

Keywords: Co-optimization, economic development, employment; environment, innovation, health and safety, lock-in, path dependency, policy integration, regulation, system changes, sustainability, sustainable development, trade.


Abstract: This article explores the complex relationship between environmental regulation, innovation, and sustainable development within the context of an increasingly globalizing economy. The economic development, environment, and employment aspects of sustainable development are emphasized. We contend that the most crucial problem in achieving sustainability is lock-in or path dependency due to (1) the failure to envision, design, and implement policies that achieve co-optimization, or the mutually reinforcing, of social goals, and (2) entrenched economic and political interests that gain from the present system and advancement of its current trends. The article argues that industrial policy, environmental law and policy, and trade initiatives must be ‘opened up’ by expanding the practice of multi-purpose policy design, and that these policies must be integrated as well. Sustainable development requires stimulating revolutionary technological innovation through environmental, health, safety, economic, and labor market regulation. Greater support for these changes must also be reinforced by ‘opening up the participatory and political space’ to enable new voices to contribute to integrated thinking and solutions. 

Book Chapters

Hall, R. P., & Ranganathan, S. (2021). Completing the Cycle: An Inclusive Capitalism Approach Linking Sustainable Consumption and Production. In R. Bali Swain & S. Sweet (Eds.), Sustainable Consumption and Production, Volume I (pp. 65–84). Springer International Publishing.

Abstract: In this chapter, we present an inclusive capitalism approach, which completes the environmentalproductionincome and distributionconsumption cycles by treating sustainable consumption and production as two sides of the same coin.

Book Reviews

Hall, R. P. (2012). Book Review: Cents and Sustainability: Securing Our Common Future by Decoupling Economic Growth from Environmental Pressures. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 32(2), 240–242.

Magazine Articles

Hall, R. P., & Ashford, N. A. (2020, August 4). Covid-19 Could Be an Opportunity to Combat Inequality. Tribune. 
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 19: A homeless person wrapped in a blanket sits holding a cup on London Bridge as people walk past at the start of rush hour on March 19, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)

Recent decades have seen inequality grow across the West. The Covid-19 crisis looks likely to continue the trend, but it doesn’t have to be that way – governments could choose to fight it instead.

This article outlines nine categories of change that hold the potential to address inequality, provide all citizens with access to essential goods and services, and advance progress towards sustainability. 

Ashford, N. A., Hall, R. P., & Ashford, R. H. (2013, October 2). Addressing the Crisis in Employment and Consumer Demand: Reconciliation with Environmental and Financial Sustainability. European Financial Review, 63-68. 

For a long time, the earlier sustainability literature focused almost exclusively on environmental sustainability, which included resource exhaustion, toxic pollution, ecosystem destruction, and global climate disruption. The sources of environmental problems were acknowledged to stem from industrialization and the ever-increasing consumption of materials and energy. Some attention surfaced on environmental justice, reflecting the disparate effects of environmental deterioration on poor people and poor nations. Recently, concerns with environmental sustainability have become dominated by global climate change, almost to the exclusion of other environmental concerns.

While concerns about poverty and earning capacity were raised now and then, it was only after the 2008 financial crisis that employment and the earning capacity of people were catapulted into the center stage of political discourse. Part of this discourse has focused on the relationship between employment and consumption, where the tension between providing jobs and decreasing the environmental footprint of industrialized and industrializing states was acknowledged. This relationship has historically focused on increasing production and consumption with insufficient or little regard to their effects on the environment, and energy and resource limits.

This articles discusses ways to address the growing crisis in employment through a broad range of mechanisms.

Ashford, R. H., Hall, R. P., & Ashford, N. A. (2013, October 2). Broadening Capital Acquisition with the Earnings of Capital as a Means of Sustainable Growth and Environmental Sustainability. The European Financial Review, 70–74.

In the article above it was argued that environmental sustainability with sustainable economic recovery requires sustainable earning capacity for poor and middle-class people. In general, earning capacity can be enhanced by some combination of two contributions; (1) wages earned through employment and (2) money earned through the ownership of productive capital. The latter includes ordinary investment from wage savings that people might make through the purchasing of stocks, bonds, and property; changing ownership structures of businesses (see Marjorie Kelly’s approach of generative ownership), employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and extending effective market opportunities to poor and middle-class people so that they can acquire capital with the earnings of capital based on principles of binary economics. This article focuses on the binary economic approach and explains how this approach can enhance not only their capital earning capacity but also the demand for employment and the prospects for achieving environmental sustainability.

The binary economic approach envisions an implementation of an ownership-broadening system of corporate finance that would require no taxes, redistribution, or government command. Corporations would be free to continue to meet their capital requirements as before, but they would have an additional, potentially more profitable, market means to do so. This additional means could be voluntarily employed to:

  • enhance the earning capacity of the participating companies, their shareholders, their employees and their customers;
  • promote more sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and broadly-shared growth and prosperity;
  • reduce poverty, welfare dependence and the need for government expenditures, taxes, and other transfer payments;
  • enhance the value of equity investments and reduce the risk of borrowing; and
  • enhance the credit worthiness of national governments, and their ability to raise revenue.
Ashford, N. A., & Hall, R. P. (2012). Regulation-Induced Innovation for Sustainable Development. Administrative & Regulatory Law News, 37(3), 21–23.

This article argues that regulation—properly fashioned—can
transform products and processes in ways that confer economic, health, safety, and environmental benefits—not only costs
. In contrast, classical economic analysis of the relationship between health, safety, and environmental regulation, on the one hand, and
competitiveness, on the other, maintains that stringent regulation invariably increases production costs, diverting resources from R&D and hindering innovation. This assumption was challenged first in the late 1970s at MIT and made popular in 1991 by the so-called
“Porter hypothesis.”

Earlier empirically based work on this concept dates back twelve years before Porter’s work, to research undertaken at MIT. This earlier work showed how stringent and focused regulations in the U.S. chemical-producing and -using industries had the effect of stimulating fundamental product and process innovations.

This article discusses the research behind regulation-induced innovation and outlines how stringent environmental and health and safety regulation—if appropriately designed, implemented, and complemented by economic incentives—can lead to radical technological developments that can significantly advance efforts to promote sustainable development.