Category: Economics

The Gift of Death

Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it. by George Monbiot There’s nothing they need, nothing they don’t own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub holder; a “hilarious” inflatable zimmer frame; a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – and somehow I find this significant – […]

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Letters from Ladakh – Culture Demolition in Fast Forward

Editor’s Preamble: Despite the title, I’m no longer in Ladakh. Indeed, it was way back in August 2009 when I was there, so this article has been a long time coming (thanks to work on the WPN keeping me too busy, amongst other things!). I keep the ‘Letters from…’ part of the title to make my international reports easier to find. I came to Ladakh with the purpose of profiling […]

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Forbidden Planet

We cannot restrain climate change without a political fight against plutocracy. by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom. Humankind’s greatest crisis coincides with the rise of an ideology that makes it impossible to address. By the late 1980s, when it became clear that manmade climate change endangered the living planet and its people, the world was in the grip of an extreme political doctrine, […]

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Consumer Choices

by William Park, Eco Ola, Peru Heritage varieties of Quinoa outside Alausí, Ecuador Can consumer choice be a driver of change? The answer is yes, provided that consumers make informed decisions based on awareness of how their purchases impact others and our planet. If, however, all the available products are produced by the same corporations using the same shortsighted and destructive methods and there is no meaningful labeling, then consumer […]

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The Fat of the Land

Robbing the poor, trashing the natural world: Europe’s farm subsidies are an obscenity. by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom. Photo: Jim Bain via Wikimedia There’s a neat symmetry in the numbers which helped to sink the European summit. The proposed budget was €50bn higher than the UK government could accept(1). This is the amount of money that European farmers are given every year(2). […]

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The Sufficiency Economy – Envisioning a Prosperous Way Down

Editor’s Preamble: I would exhort readers to ignore the potentially off-putting length of this piece, to instead step into, and allow yourself to be absorbed by, this important and worthy attempt at future-visualising. Readers who have been following my own work over the last several years will recognise and appreciate the themes covered. From my own perspective, what follows is a highly pragmatic view on the potential near-future of civilisation, […]

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Nature Resilience – Organizing Ecological Restoration by Partners in Business for Next Generations

I was recently invited to contribute to a concept paper (2.2mb PDF) authored and edited by Willem Ferwerda. Mr. Ferwerda, a tropical ecologist, was director of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) National Committee of The Netherlands from 2000 until March 2012. In his new role Ferwerda will support the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) in making businesses and investors work for ecosystem restoration and management. As […]

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The Guardian Institutions of Hierarchy

One aspect of human culture that seems irresistible to the ancient status-seeking part of our brain is the development of hierarchies. The encoding of personal status and power into social structures is evident in the tribes and troops of all the great apes, but human beings have gone much further. We built an entire globe-spanning civilization on the foundation of hierarchy. One inevitable effect of social hierarchies (in fact the […]

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Building Markets or Building Society: Responses to Food Speculation

There are 154 million reasons why speculation via the commodity markets needs to be stopped – and stopped fast. 154 million, as I’m sure you know, is the number of people in poorer developing countries who were reportedly driven further into poverty as a result of speculation- induced food price hikes in 2007-08, or who became malnourished as a result.(1) Previous speakers have explained why speculation – not food shortages […]

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A 50,000-Foot View of the Global Crisis

We are now well into a global crisis that may mark the end of this cycle of human civilization. In this note I present a summary of what’s going on as far as I can tell, as well as a scenario for how things might develop over the next 75 years or so. The issue is enormous, so an overview like this is inevitably going to be skimpy on details. […]

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