Category: Economics

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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A Tale of Three Countries: Are Farm Subsidies Necessary?

Imagine if Tom Vilsack (whose Wikipedia biography does not list any experience whatsoever with farming or farmers prior to his appointment as the United States Secretary of Agriculture) emerged from his offices to find a cow tethered on the street outside and protestors informing him that it was his task to milk her. This was exactly what happened in Norway during 2012 protests to changes in agricultural subsidies for Norwegian […]

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Not Socialism, Not Capitalism… Distributism Seeks Community Power

Not socialism, not capitalism… distributism seeks community power. by Jay Walljasper, On the Commons Conservatives, progressives and everyone else likes farmers’ markets, local food, mom-and-pop stores and other qualities of a thriving community. Can they all connect around the commons? (Photo of the Barberton, Ohio, Downtown Farmers’ Market by the Barberton Community Foundation under a Creative Commons license.) In the early-to-mid-20th Century the Distributists — led by English authors G.K. […]

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The Pricing of Everything

The Natural Capital Agenda looks like an answer to the environmental crisis. But it’s a delusion. Below is the transcript of George Monbiot’s SPERI Annual Lecture, hosted by the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Sheffield. The lecture was delivered without notes, and transcribed afterwards, so a few small changes have been made for readability, but it’s more or less as given. You can watch the video […]

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Global Inequality and Its Ills

Inequality is bad for most people not just the poor, bad for business and political stability; and it can be cured. by Prof Peter Saunders Two recent books deal with inequality and some of the myths surrounding it (see ISIS reviews, SiS 63). In Capital in the Twenty-first Century [1], the French economist Thomas Piketty argues that the natural tendency of capitalism is to generate ever increasing inequality. We, lay […]

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Permaculture Business, Part 3: On Barriers

If you haven’t done so already, you can read Part I and Part II of this series. by Rob Avis A personal take on barriers to success As with any career or business, there are barriers to achieving success. It is important to be aware of as many of these barriers as possible so that you can avoid the pitfalls. One of Darren Doherty’s sayings is that you need to […]

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Commons Way of Life vs. Market Way of Life

by Silke Helfrich The market has always been with us. What’s new about life in the last three hundred years — and especially the last thirty — is that the buying and selling of goods is the overriding goal of human civilization. The market is seen not just as an efficient way to do some things — it’s increasingly heralded as the only way to organize our society. The market […]

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A Legal Duty to Maximise Greenhouse Gases

Buried in the Infrastructure Bill is an astonishing and hitherto-unnoticed contradiction. Sometimes there’s nothing to do but sit there and laugh. That’s what happened last week while I was reading the Lords debate on the Infrastructure Bill, and stumbled across something so amazing that I had to go back over it three times to ensure I’d read it right. The bill, as several peers complained, is an odd one: published […]

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