Category: Economics

The Kink in the Human Brain

Pointless, joyless consumption is destroying our world of wonders. This is a moment at which anyone with the capacity for reflection should stop and wonder what we are doing. If the news that in the past 40 years the world has lost over 50% its vertebrate wildlife (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) fails to tell us that there is something wrong with the way we live, it’s hard to […]

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Life in a ‘Degrowth’ Economy, and Why You Might Actually Enjoy It

by Samuel Alexander, originally published on The Conversation Time to get off the economic growth train? Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock What does genuine economic progress look like? The orthodox answer is that a bigger economy is always better, but this idea is increasingly strained by the knowledge that, on a finite planet, the economy can’t grow for ever. This week’s Addicted to Growth conference in Sydney is exploring how to move beyond […]

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The Great Oil Swindle: What Happens When the Shale Boom Goes Boom?

The shale gas revolution was meant to bring lasting prosperity. But the result of the gas glut may be just a bubble, producing no more than a temporary recovery that masks deep structural instability. Originally published March 2013 Recent headlines in the US press about the coming economic boom heralded by the shale gas revolution would lead you to think we are literally swimming in oil. A spate of reports […]

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The High Price of Materialism (video)

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Further Reading: The Values of Everything The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, and the Ten Basic Needs Sucking Out Our Brains Through Our Eyes Commons Way of Life vs. Market Way of Life One Rolex Short of Contentment Growth is Obsolete

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How To Keep From Losing Our Heads

It’s possible to drive a herd of buffalo right off a cliff. First Nations people did just that in a place in Alberta called, appropriately enough, “Heads-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump”. Whereas a single buffalo, when chased, will dodge about and quickly change direction, a herd instead runs together and acts as if a slower more primitive organism is in charge. Individuals take their cues from the individuals around them. If everyone […]

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Scotland Can Show the World that Small is Beautiful

And challenge the preeminent power of corporations to defy governments elected by the people. by David Morris Scots rally for independence. (By Martainn MacDhomhnaill under a Creative Commons license) Since 1945 the number of nations has soared from about 60 to more than 180.  The first wave of new sovereign states came with the decolonization movement of the 1960s and 1970s; the second in the early 1990s with the break-up […]

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Call to Action: Reclaim the Climate Movement (Australia)

I’m sure you’ve heard that everyone – or, at least, everyone who cares – will be marching for the climate this weekend. If you’re not marching, then you’re not doing anything at all, or so we’re told. False dichotomies aside though, I won’t be marching this weekend. I’ll be taking action instead. I agree with Chris Hedges: the march is nothing more that street theatre. It won’t lead to any […]

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Political Straightjacket

If the ozone hole had been discovered ten years later, governments are likely to have done nothing. In The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins, a comedy made in 1971, Spike Milligan portrays Sloth as a tramp trying to get through a farm gate. This simple task is rendered almost impossible by the fact that he can’t be bothered to take his hands out of his pockets and open the latch. He […]

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Someone Else’s Story

Scots voting no to independence would be an astonishing act of self-harm. Imagine that the question was posed the other way round. An independent nation is asked to decide whether to surrender its sovereignty to a larger union. It would be allowed a measure of autonomy, but key aspects of its governance would be handed to another nation. It would be used as a military base by the dominant power […]

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Seeds of Truth – Vandana Shiva Responds to The New Yorker

Editor’s Note: The New Yorker carried an article in its 25 August 2014 issue “Seeds of Doubt” by journalist Michael Specter, dedicated ostensibly to Vandana Shiva and the anti-GMO campaign, but is in truth a none-too-subtle ploy to discredit both in the service of the biotech industry. Specter had already published a book in 2009, Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives, purporting […]

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Crash on Demand – or Rapid Transition?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6pFDu7lLV4 The Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb (Duration: 1:11:11) Please watch before continuing with the article. Can we talk about transition, please? Regular readers will have noted the semi-recent flurry of conversations over ‘crashing’ the system (if not, see here, here, here, here and here) and possible pathways to transition (see here and here). I’d like to see this conversation continued, as it is not insignificant. Hence […]

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Degrowth and the Carbon Budget: Powerdown Strategies for Climate Stability

Samuel Alexander (1), Simplicity Institute Climate change is not ‘a problem’ waiting for ‘a solution’. It is an environmental, cultural, and political phenomenon which is reshaping the way we think about ourselves, our societies and humanity’s place on Earth. — Mike Hulme 1. Introduction In recent years the notion of a ‘carbon budget’ has entered the lexicon of climate science (e.g. IPCC, 2013; Meinshausen et al, 2009). This concept refers […]

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